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Published: 19 April 2022

National Screening Service update - April 2022

April 2022

Support us on Bowel Cancer Awareness Month

April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month and in recent BowelScreen research we found that fear of finding something wrong is the most common reason for not taking part in the free test.*

Yet the majority of changes in the bowel found by screening are actually discovered when they’re easier to treat, and there’s a better chance of recovery. We are asking eligible men and women to overcome this fear and embarrassment and do the test.

The BowelScreen Programme Report 2018-2019, Round Three was published this month.

We have also uploaded an update on the age extension of the programme, you can read here.

BowelScreen, on 11 April 2022, announced that Mayo University Hospital (MUH) is now performing colonoscopies on behalf of the programme. MUH, joins fellow Saolta hospital group hospitals: University Hospital Galway, Letterkenny University Hospital, Roscommon University Hospital, and Sligo University Hospital in providing BowelScreen services for the people of the west of Ireland. Fifteen hospitals across Ireland are now delivering this vital screening service for the national bowel screening programme.

The unit launch comes as acute hospital and endoscopy services - regionally and nationwide – continue to navigate the significant impact COVID-19 restrictions and high infection rates have had on operations. It is anticipated that when fully operational, the Saolta University Health Care Group will deliver around 20% of BowelScreen’s colonoscopies per year. BowelScreen conducts around 4,700 colonoscopies per year.

Clinical Director (Interim) of BowelScreen Professor Pádraic Mac Mathuna said: “Bowel cancer is one of the most common types of cancer diagnosed in Ireland, affecting almost 3,000 people every year. If detected at an early or pre-cancer stage, bowel cancer is easier to treat and there is a better chance of cure. The provision of BowelScreen endoscopy services in Mayo is a very welcome addition to cancer prevention in the region.”

BowelScreen Programme Manager, Hilary Coffey Farrell, said: “We are delighted that MUH is joining BowelScreen, serving the Mayo region. I would like to thank our colleagues in MUH for their work with the programme to start this important service. BowelScreen has the potential to reduce deaths from bowel cancer for the people in Mayo, but this is dependent on people taking up the offer of their free home FIT kit screening test when offered. The more people who take part, the more effective the bowel screening programme becomes.”

Alongside this stakeholder update we have attached the BowelScreen partner pack. We would appreciate your support by retweeting and sharing our social media posts on your channels.

CervicalCheck programme report 2017-March 2020

The CervicalCheck Programme Report 2017-March 2020 is now published and available to read online. The report covers the period from September 2017 to March 2020. It provides a statistical overview of the final years of Ireland’s cytology-based population screening programme. The report ends on 30 March 2020, when Ireland moved from cytology-led screening to be one of the first countries in the world to implement a primary HPV screening programme. You can view the report here .

When we were working on the report we noticed an historical error in how some figures had been counted for previous reports. You can read our blog on how we have corrected our data, and what we have done to make sure the error doesn’t happen again, here.

Operational Plan 2022

Our high-level aims for 2022 are outlined in our National Screening Service Operational Plan 2022, which is published here. The plan incorporates ongoing multi-annual projects and initiatives from 2021, in addition to the strategic and operational objectives set for 2022.

HSE research on ‘Exploring and understanding perceptions of screening services in Ireland’ published

In 2021 we worked on a large research project to help us understand how people in Ireland feel about screening. We asked people what they think about the screening services we offer, and looked at what drives - and what stops – people from coming for screening. You can read more about findings here .

Testimonials to encourage screening uptake

One of the findings of the research project mentioned above, is that our participants want to hear from others who have attended screening, especially those who have had a positive screening experience. As part of our social media campaigns this year we are including testimonials from people who participate in our programmes. Our research found that authentic testimonials from our participants can encourage other people to educate themselves and take action.

Patient and Public Partnership Strategy 2019-2023 Progress Report published

The Patient and Public Partnership Strategy 2019-2023 Progress Report is now available. The report highlights what has been achieved under the strategy so far to strengthen patient and public partnership [PPP], and identifies the strategy’s priorities for the remainder of its timeframe. The report finds that a systematic change towards a ‘person-centred’ culture is demonstrated in the numerous projects across the NSS that have engaged in the PPP process. You can view the report here.

Ukrainian and Russian translated documents

We are finalising the translation of our four programme leaflets into Ukrainian and Russian, and creating new video messages in these languages in conjunction with Translate Ireland for our screening programmes. More information will be available in our next stakeholder update.

If you would like more information, or to make a suggestion or comment on any of the above, please contact the NSS communications team at

* 43% of respondents. Core Research carried out the research on behalf of the HSE’s National Screening Service. The research involved a national omnibus survey among 320 people aged 60 to 69 (eligible for bowel screening) and three focus groups. The research was carried out from July to December 2021.