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Government seeks GP views on cancer screening overhaul

GPs are being asked to provide their views on the national cancer screening programmes, and how they can be improved, as part of the major overhaul announced in November.

Professor Sir Mike Richards – who is leading the independent review of the screening services – today called for feedback from relevant stakeholders, including GPs, on the ‘challenges’ currently faced and potential solutions.

Views on how cancer screening should look in 10 years’ time have also been requested.

The call for evidence will be open for eight weeks between 21 February and 18 April 2019, with the final review expected this summer.

The independent review, which will focus on the cervical, breast and bowel cancer programmes, will be looking at:

  • Future management, delivery and oversight of screening programmes
  • How to ensure maximum screening uptake across the country and particularly in vulnerable and minority groups
  • Opportunities for the use of AI and other technology to help with cancer screening
  • Feedback on current and future IT and equipment
  • Having the right number of staff with the right training to deliver the programmes
  • Views on what screening should look like in ten years’ time

NHS cancer director and former CQC chief inspector of hospitals, Sir Mike said: ‘I am keen to engage a wide range of people. To do this I am inviting stakeholders to participate in this Call for Evidence. This will play a crucial part in developing the recommendations from the review.

‘It will be important to hear both about challenges facing the current screening programmes and ideas on how these might be resolved. In addition, it would be useful to hear views on how cancer screening should look in 10 years’ time.’

When the overhaul was first announced, GPs called on NHS England to target cancer screening so the most appropriate patients benefit.

The national cancer programmes suffered two scandals last year, including primary care support provider Capita failing to pass on nearly 48,000 letters regarding cervical cancer screening to patients.

Last year, the Government also admitted that due to an IT error dating back to 2009, 450,000 women missed their cancer screenings.


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