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Bowel Cancer: Screening

Volume 492: debated on Tuesday 19 May 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what programmes his Department has for screening for bowel cancer; what estimates he has made of the cost of operating such programmes in the last 12 months for which figures are available; and how many people were screened for bowel cancer during that period. (276414)

The NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme is co-ordinated by NHS Cancer Screening Programmes (NHSCSP) with funding and policy guidance from the Department. The NHSCSP developed the structure of the screening programme, comprising five regional programme hubs responsible for call and recall, laboratory processing of test kits, and the booking of clinic appointments. Each hub links to a number of screening centres within its region responsible for providing colonoscopy services to those with an abnormal screening result.

The first screening centre commenced operation in July 2006. As at 15 May 2009, there are 47 screening centres in operation across England, covering approximately 83 per cent. of the eligible population. The programme costs £1.40 per head of the total population per year. The structure of the programme has developed as planned and full roll out of the programme across the country is expected by the end of 2009.

From 27 April 2008 to 26 April 2009, 2,238,193 invitations for bowel screening were sent. For the same period, 2,159,497 kits were issued and 1,277,519 kits were returned.