NHS Screening Programmes
What is Screening?
Screening is a way of identifying apparently healthy people who may have an increased risk of a particular condition. The NHS offers a range of screening tests to different sections of the population.
The aim is to offer screening to the people who are most likely to benefit from it.
For example, some screening tests are only offered to newborn babies, while others such as breast screening and abdominal aortic aneurysm screening are only offered to older people.
What types of screening are offered by the NHS in England?
An independent expert group called the UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) advises the NHS, in all 4 UK countries, on which screening programmes to offer.
The NHS screening programmes currently offered in England are listed below. For more detailed information on each type of screening,
You can also view screening timelines.
Screening for newborn babies
Newborn babies are offered:
Diabetic eye screening
From the age of 12, all people with diabetes are offered an annual diabetic eye test to check for early signs of diabetic retinopathy.
Breast screening is offered to women aged 50 to 70 to detect early signs of breast cancer. Women over 70 can self-refer.
For those overdue Breast Screening
Our records show that you are overdue breast screening. Please contact The Beds & Herts Breast Screening Centre by calling 01582 497599 to book an appointment. Clinics are taking the necessary precautions with regards to COVID-19, so please do not let concerns over coronavirus cause you to delay your appointment.
You can find out more information about the National Breast Screening Programme here www.nhs.uk/conditions/breast-cancer-screening/.
As well as screening, regular self-examination is advised. Please see the following website for further information www.breastcancernow.org/information-support/have-i-got-breast-cancer/signs-symptoms-breast-cancer.
Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) screening
AAA screening is offered to men in their 65th year to detect abdominal aortic aneurysms (a dangerous swelling in the aorta). Men over 65 can self-refer.
If you get a normal result (a screen negative result) after a screening test, this means you are at low risk of having the condition you were screened for. This does not mean you will never develop the condition in the future, just that you are low risk at the moment.
If you have a higher-risk result (a screen positive result), it means you may have the condition that you’ve been tested for. At this point, you will be offered further tests (called diagnostic tests) to confirm if you have the condition. You can then be offered treatment, advice and support.
Finding out about a problem early can mean that treatment is more effective. However, screening tests are not perfect and they can lead to difficult decisions about having further tests or treatment.
Screening in pregnancy
Pregnant women are offered the following types of screening:
Screening for for Trans and Non-Binary People
Public Health England (PHE) created NHS population screening: information for trans and non-binary people on behalf of the NHS. In this information, the word ‘we’ refers to the NHS service that provides screening.
This information is for trans (transgender) and non-binary people in England. It tells you about the adult NHS screening programmes that are available in England and explains who we invite for screening.
The NHS use trans as an umbrella term to embrace the diverse range of identities outside the traditional male/female definitions. These include transgender, gender fluid and non-binary. Find more trans health information by visiting www.nhs.uk/trans-health.
Cervical screening is offered to women aged 25 to 64 to check the health of cells in the cervix. It is offered every 3 years for those aged 26 to 49, and every 5 years from the ages of 50 to 64.
For those overdue Cervical Screening
Our records show that you are overdue cervical screening. Please contact the surgery by calling 01442 213919 to book an appointment for your smear test. We are taking the necessary precautions with regards to COVID-19, so please do not let concerns over coronavirus cause you to delay your appointment.
You can find out more about the National Cervical Screening Programme here www.nhs.uk/conditions/cervical-screening/.
Bowel cancer screening
There are 2 types of screening for bowel cancer.
A home testing kit is offered to men and women aged 60 to 74.
Bowel scope screening uses a thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera on the end to look at the large bowel. It is offered to men and women at the age of 55 in some parts of England.
For those overdue Bowel Screening
Our records show that you are overdue bowel screening. Please contact the National Bowel Screening Helpline by calling 0800 707 6060 to organise for a kit to be sent out to you.
You can find out more information about the National Bowel Screening Programme here www.nhs.uk/conditions/bowel-cancer-screening/and www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk/about-bowel-cancer/screening/.