Breast Screening
Cervical Screening
Bowel Screening
Diabetic Retina Screening

National Screening Service update


BreastCheck continues to operate with a reduced service during the current wave of COVID-19. We are monitoring our capacity to screen on a weekly basis and in accordance with government guidelines. Although screening remains a safe procedure, the risk to healthy women currently outweighs the benefits of breast screening. We are reviewing our decision at local level and will resume routine breast screening as soon as it is safe to do so.

  • BreastCheck has delayed sending new invitations for screening.
  • The programme is working with available staff to provide a service for those women within our care who are deemed to be at higher risk at this time. These are women who are in the assessment phase of screening.
  • Women whose appointments are being cancelled are being notified by BreastCheck and their appointments will be rescheduled.
  • Women who are due a follow-up assessment to continue to attend on the day and time given.
  • As with many acute hospital services at present, access to surgery is curtailed.
  • BreastCheck has begun a programme of vaccination of all patient-facing staff, in conjunction with local host hospitals. This will further reduce the risk to participants and staff of COVID-19 and will support a safe restart of services.


General practice and community-based clinics continue to come under pressure from COVID-19. As a result, some maynot be in a position to offer cervical screening appointments, or may be operating at reduced capacity. The programme continues to support those clinics making individual decisions about the level of screening that is safe for them to provide at this time.

  • We have completed a campaign for European Cervical Cancer Prevention week (Jan 18-24), where we asked women to learn more about our new screening test, and book when they are due. We provided a suite of new materials in different languages, aimed at increasing access to information
  • We are advising those seeking an appointment with their GP or clinic that this might not be possible at this time; we are asking them to keep in contact with their GP or clinic and rebook as soon as they can.
  • We are notifying women that they do not need to book with their own GP, and that a list of registered screeners is available on our website,
  • Colposcopy clinics are continuing to work at capacity to see women referred for treatment. A few clinics are seeing priority referrals only at this time. Where possible, they are combining resources with other local clinics to offer further follow-up care.


BowelScreen continues to screen at a reduced capacity. We are working with host hospitals to maximise the volume of follow-up procedures they can accommodate safely during the current wave of COVID-19.

  • BowelScreen continues to monitor colonoscopy capacity closely; invitations to participate are being matched to capacity.
  • The HSE Acute Operations Endoscopy Programme has issued national guidance for endoscopy units to enable them to plan their endoscopy activity while minimising risk of COVID-19 transmission to staff and patients.
  • Operational endoscopy units are seeing patients in order of priority. Urgent symptomatic cases and new BowelScreen patients are on their priority list, and will continue to be seen where possible.

BowelScreen patients who are scheduled for surveillance may have their appointments delayed. 

Diabetic RetinaScreen 

Diabetic RetinaScreen continues to invite participants to attend screening. We are working with providers to ensure screening is delivered safely in line with the recommended HSE guidelines for staff and participants.

  • DRS is reporting a high attendance rate for screening.
  • We are continuing to invite participants for screening, with regional variations in screening capacity at this time.
  • We are working with the host hospitals as they make local decisions on their referral capacity.
  • All urgent referrals are being seen in the treatment centres.
  • The programme is identifying opportunities for patient-facing healthcare workers to be scheduled for vaccination, to reduce the risk to participants and staff of COVID-19 and support the continuation services


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