The Government are seeking help from GP’s in their attempt to overhaul the cancer screening process after a series of high profile errors were revealed in the media during recent months.
The overhaul will involve GP’s providing their views on the existing national cancer screening programme and how they can be improved.
Professor Sir Mike Richards – who is leading the independent review of the screening services – called for feedback from relevant stakeholders, including GPs, on the ‘challenges’ currently faced and potential solutions.
The call for evidence will be open for eight weeks between now and 18 April, with a final review expected to take place in the summer.
In the past twelve months, the national cancer programme has been involved in two high profile scandals which have led to hundreds of thousands of people missing out on their cancer screenings.
The first error came to light in May last year after it was revealed that up to 270 patients may have lost their lives needlessly due to an IT error which caused around 450,000 women to miss breast cancer screenings.
Then in November, it was revealed that following a significant error by Capita, letters relating to cervical cancer screenings of 47,700 women had not been delivered, putting thousands at risk.
The independent review, which will focus on the cervical, breast and bowel cancer programmes, will be looking at:
- Future management, delivery and oversight of screening programmes
- Opportunities for the use of AI and other technology to help with cancer screening
- Feedback on current and future IT and equipment
- Having the right number of staff with the right training to deliver the programmes
- Views on what screening should look like in ten years’ time
- How to ensure maximum screening uptake across the country and particularly in vulnerable and minority groups.
NHS cancer director and former CQC chief inspector of hospitals, Sir Mike Richards said: “I am keen to engage a wide range of people. To do this I am inviting stakeholders to participate in this Call for Evidence. This will play a crucial part in developing the recommendations from the review.
“It will be important to hear both about challenges facing the current screening programmes and ideas on how these might be resolved.”