Many people are screened for different health conditions every day. For most, screening is a straightforward experience, but screening pathways can often be complex. Occasionally things go wrong, and incidents happen.
To address this, we have launched a new e-learning module.
Supporting the national guidance
The new module brings to life the Managing safety incidents in NHS screening programmes guidance (2017). The guidance sets out the roles and responsibilities for follow up of screening incidents by the different organisations involved in screening. For example:
- providers are expected to report, investigate and manage incidents
- Screening Quality Assurance Service (SQAS) provides technical and clinical advice for the management of an incident
- NHS England as commissioner makes sure incidents are handled appropriately through staff working in screening and immunisation teams
The purpose of the module
The new module has been designed to increase the understanding of screening safety incidents, and how they should be reported and managed.
Our new module explains why screening incidents are given special attention, and sometimes need greater reporting and investigation. There are a few reasons behind this.
The first one is that screening is the process of identifying healthy people who may be at increased risk of disease or condition. There is an ethical responsibility to do as little harm as possible to healthy service users. Investigating screening incidents and putting things right is part of that responsibility.
Another reason is that screening programmes are large population-based programmes. If something goes wrong in one service, the same could be happening in another service. It’s important that learning from incidents is communicated as quickly as possible to prevent more service users from being harmed.
Who is the module for?
The resource is aimed at:
- programme managers and other lead staff working in NHS screening programmes
- staff working in NHS England public health commissioning teams
- PHE screening division staff
The module is designed to work as an induction resource for staff who are new to screening incidents, or as pre-course information for staff attending face-to-face training courses on screening incidents. For people working in screening services, we hope it will be a useful top-up of skills and knowledge.
We are committed to reviewing our educational support for screening incidents over the next year, and we welcome your feedback on this module, and on what other training would be useful.
PHE Screening blogs
PHE Screening blogs provide up to date news from all NHS screening programmes. You can register to receive updates direct to your inbox, so there’s no need to keep checking for new blogs. If you have any questions about this blog article, or about population screening in England, please contact the PHE screening helpdesk.