Saturday , June 19 2021

Major care of cancer screening program announced

An important review of the national screening program for cancer will investigate possible changes to the current published provision after "latest problems" with screening of breast and cervical cancer, NHS England has said.

Screening programs have saved hundreds of thousands of lives but improvements can always be made, and the review will look at how recent innovations can be used, including potential use of artificial intelligence.

It will also look to learn lessons from the latest issues regarding breast and cervical screening.

Yesterday it was found that up to 48,500 women have not received information about cervical cancer screening following a system failure at Capita, which is mandated to provide various support services across England.

Screening is an important and effective tool in our fight against cancer
NHS England's Professor Steve Powis

In May, it was revealed that between 135 and 270 women may have had their lives shorter due to failure in breast cancer screening after a computer failure.

Screening can help detect problems early before a person has any symptoms, since cancer is often easier to treat. In some cases it can even prevent cancer from developing primarily by spitting people at risk.

There are three national cancer screening programs in England – for cervical, colon and intestinal tract.

The review, which will also look at how to encourage more qualified individuals to screen, will be led by Professor Sir Mike Richards, who was NHS's first cancer director and is the former healthcare manager for healthcare (CQC).

He will lead a team that will assess current screening programs and recommend how they will be organized, developed and improved.

They will provide NHS England and Public Health England (PHE) advice on the best operational delivery models for current screening programs, including any changes to current outsourced commissions.

Sir Mike said: "There is no doubt that screening programs in England save thousands of lives each year, but as part of the implementation of the NHS long-term plan, we want to make sure they are as effective as possible.

"This review provides the opportunity to look at recent advances in technology and innovative methods for selecting people for screening, which allows the NHS screening program to go from strength to strength and save more lives."

NHS England's National Medical Director, Professor Steve Powis, said: "Screening is an important and effective tool in our fight against cancer. However, new problems with breast cancer and cervical cancer have shown that we must look closely at these existing programs.

"Sir Mike has a great deal of experience in health care and is ideally placed to lead this independent review."

The review is expected to report by the summer of 2019.

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