Breast Screening
Cervical Screening
Bowel Screening
Diabetic Retina Screening


Screening resumes

The National Screening Service (NSS) began a phased resumption of its screening programmes in early July 2020, as follows:

Programme restart plans

The programmes were paused in March 2020 on Public Health advice due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, people who were in the screening system at time of pause have continued to be assessed and treated as resources allow.

Invitations and reminders for people who are now overdue screening will be sent on a phased basis, in line with programme prioritisation. In the case of cervical screening, this means that invitations and reminders will be first sent to people who are overdue a non-routine repeat screening.

The recommencement of screening is underpinned by the assumption that there will be no worsening of the COVID-19 situation & restrictions will continue to ease. Provided all key conditions remain safe for participants and staff, on a monthly basis invitations will be sent to individuals overdue a routine screening.

Screening will look different as we restart. In order to ensure a safe restart we are taking measures to protect both participants and staff, and monitoring the restart to ensure their continued safety. For this reason, we are unable to screen people at the same level as pre-COVID-19. We continue to follow Public Health guidelines and will adapt our planning accordingly. The health and safety of our participants continues to be our top priority at this time.

We are ensuring all parts of the system have sufficient capacity to process the volume of tests during the restart period, as blockages could result in delayed test results for participants.

The BreastCheck static units are continuing to assist the symptomatic service delivery for their host hospitals, and prioritising patients with a known high grade/aggressive cancer. BreastCheck mobile units are being reconditioned to meet infection control and physical distancing standards ahead of breast screening restarting. BowelScreen is continuing to investigate options to ensure capacity is available for treatment when issuing of screening kits recommences.

Follow-up clinics

Follow-up clinics are still being held where it is possible to do so and hospital resources allow. If your appointment changes, the clinic will contact you.

If your clinic is operating, please do not attend your appointment if you:

Please phone the clinic to make another appointment. You should also phone the clinic if you would like to postpone your appointment at this time.

What you can do

For those people worried about symptoms during the pause, we continue to advise that screening is not for people with symptoms. We would encourage those who are between screening appointments, or waiting for rescheduled appointments; to be aware of, and act upon, any symptoms associated with the conditions for which they are being screened. We ask that those people contact their GP, who will arrange appropriate follow-up care. For more information, please contact the Freephone line on 1800 45 45 55 or email