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2016-17 service specifications published for NHS screening programmes

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NHS England has now published the 2016-17 service specifications for all 11 NHS Screening Programmes. 

The specifications accompany the 2016-17 agreement that outlines how NHS England commissions certain public health services under section 7A of the National Health Service Act 2006.

Cover of 'NHS public health functions agreement 2016-17'.The new screening specifications include changes to the national programmes in 2016-17. The specifications are important reading for those involved in the commissioning and provision of screening services in England.

Some of the most important changes are summarised below.

NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme:

  • NHS England will take forward responsibility for commissioning operational bowel scope screening centres [as at 1 April 2016] as part of the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme
  • NHS England will work with PHE, which will continue to take responsibility for ensuring the final wave 3 bowel scope screening centres are operational by the end of December 2016

NHS Breast Screening Programme:

  • NHS England will work with Public Health England on developing a single national call/recall database

NHS Diabetic Eye Screening Programme:

  • NHS England will support IT developments and the planning for pilots of changes to the screening interval (from 1 to 2 years) for those at low risk of sight loss, as part of a wider programme to improve screening effectiveness
  • pathway clarifications and improvements to the quality of and consistency of grading

NHS Infectious Diseases in Pregnancy Screening Programme:

  • antenatal rubella susceptibility screening no longer provided from 1 April 2016

NHS Newborn Hearing Screening Programme:

  • NHS England will ensure providers meet requirements for external peer review and quality standards for audiology services

NHS Sickle cell and Thalassaemia Screening Programme:

  • NHS England will ensure repeat testing in every pregnancy and apply new guidance on low prevalence and high prevalence areas when handling NHS trust mergers

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