Today we have published two reports that summarise a memorable year for screening in England and the UK.
The two reports – NHS Screening Programmes in England 2014 to 2015 and Screening in the UK: making effective recommendations 2014 to 2015 – highlight the work during the year of the 11 national programmes in England and the UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC).
This is the first time we have combined the three cancer and eight non-cancer programmes in a single report that includes a data summary for each and a brief explanation of what they screen for and why.
It also features key achievements for each programme from 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2015 including:
- encouraging evidence from the piloting of human papillomavirus (HPV) primary screening by the cervical screening programme
- ongoing implementation of bowel scope screening that should save many lives
- expansion of newborn blood spot screening to cover four additional rare genetic disorders which should prevent around 30 babies each year from dying or being severely disabled
- introduction of earlier antenatal screening for rare fetal anomalies Edwards’ syndrome and Patau’s syndrome
- research supporting the extension of eye screening intervals for lowest risk patients with diabetes
We continuously seek to improve the quality and efficiency of our screening programmes. I'd like to thank all the screening teams, our many partners and stakeholders for their efforts in achieving this in 2014 to 2015.
The Screening in the UK: making effective recommendations 2014 to 2015 report summarises the UK NSC's work during a year when it made recommendations on 16 topics and acted on the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee’s recommendations on screening.
We require the highest quality evidence of the benefits of screening before recommending a new programme is implemented.
So a major achievement of the year was the committee’s decision to recommend expansion of newborn blood spot screening to cover glutaric aciduria type 1 (GA1), homcystinuria (HCU), isovaleric acidaemia (IVA) and maple syrup urine disease (MSUD).
In the UK we are known for this rigour with which we assess topics against our appraisal criteria. That is why screening helps so many people each year, while minimising any harms.
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