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Heart Diseases: Screening

Volume 457: debated on Tuesday 6 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations she has received on the introduction of screening for abdominal aortic aneurisms; and if she will make a statement. (121054)

The United Kingdom National Screening Committee (NSC) has advised that screening for men aged 65 for abdominal aortic aneurysms can be recommended in principle subject to further detailed work, particularly on the appropriate configuration of treatment services and the provision of information and support to enable men to make an informed choice about whether to undergo screening. The NSC is undertaking further work on abdominal aortic aneurysm screening and will consider this topic again at its next meeting in March 2007.

The following table shows the representations that have been received on screening for abdominal aortic aneurysms from 2002.


Adjournment debate


Parliamentary questions




To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many investigations into screening were conducted by the national screening committee in each of the last five years; how many days each investigation took to complete; what the outcome was of each investigation; and if she will make a statement. (121055)

The function of the United Kingdom National Screening Committee (NSC) is to advise Ministers on all aspects of screening policy. The major topics investigated over the last five years are listed as follows. The time taken to complete each investigation varies.

Screening for type 2 diabetes

Feasibility of screening for type 2 diabetes in primary care was piloted from 2003 to 2005, with an independent evaluation report presented to the NSC in November 2006. The NSC concluded that screening certain subgroups of the population who are at high risk of type 2 diabetes was feasible and should be undertaken as part of an integrated programme to detect and manage cardio-vascular risk factors.

Bowel cancer screening

Based on the final evaluation report of the pilot commissioned by the NSC, and a formal options appraisal, the NHS bowel cancer screening programme is inviting men and women aged 60 to 69 to be screened. When fully rolled out the programme will screen 2 million people and detect around 3,000 bowel cancers a year.

Chlamydia screening

The national Chlamydia screening programme in England was established in 2003 after a successful one year pilot in Portsmouth and the Wirral. The programme is currently being rolled out and we expect to see national coverage during 2007.

Newborn hearing screening

The screening of all newborn babies for deafness began in 20 pilot sites in England in 2001, and is now fully rolled out across England. The test identifies hearing loss and impairment on average two years earlier than previous methods. Over 1,600 newborn babies are screened each day at 122 sites in England.

Newborn bloodspot screening

The evidence on screening for sickle cell, medium chain CoA dehydrogenase deficiency and cystic fibrosis have been assessed in the last five years and tests for these conditions have been, or are being added to the bloodspot programme.