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 are being sent on a phased basis, in line with programme prioritisation.

The recommencement of screening is underpinned by the assumption that there will be no worsening of the COVID-19 situation.

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.

BreastCheck is currently providing its staff and facilities for the care, diagnostics, treatment and surgery for breast cancer patients referred to the symptomatic services. This priority work will ensure the best outcome is achieved for women of all ages with symptoms of breast cancer. It will also increase treatment capacity for screening participants, should they require it, when screening resumes.

CervicalCheck are inviting people who usually have their routine screening test every 3 or 5 years and whose tests were delayed, were due to have an early repeat screening test - a one-year recall, needed a repeat test because their last sample could not be tested - a three-month recall and became eligible for their first cervical screening test this year because they have turned 25. We are prioritising those who have been waiting the longest.

BowelScreen has restarted and invitations to eligible people are being issued on a phased basis. BowelScreen is currently attending to those whose procedures were postponed due to COVID-19. Completed home screening test kits and lab reports will be processed.

Diabetic RetinaScreen invitations are being sent out to eligible people. Invitations will be sent to anyone who is overdue a screening appointment they were due during the paused period, anyone who is now due a screening appointment, anyone who has now become eligible for their first eye screening test and anyone who has joined the programme since March 2020.

Under current COVID-19 restrictions, people can travel for essential purposes including screening appointments. Our health services have precautions in place to help protect you and our staff against the spread of COVID-19. Please attend for screening when you receive your invitation.

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