Skip to main content

Warning notification:Warning

Unfortunately, you are using an outdated browser. Please, upgrade your browser to improve your experience with HSE. The list of supported browsers:

  1. Chrome
  2. Edge
  3. FireFox
  4. Opera
  5. Safari

Published: 19 May 2022

National Screening Service update - May 2022

May 2022

Disruptions due to Medical Laboratory Scientists Association (MLSA) industrial action Screening is continuing despite the planned industrial action by laboratory scientists. We are continuing to invite people for breast, cervical, bowel and diabetic retinopathy screening. We are processing cervical screening samples and FIT kit tests as normal. However, some followup services may be disrupted, as follows:

  • Some BreastCheck assessment appointments and surgeries may be cancelled and rescheduled
  • Some colposcopy services may be affected and appointments cancelled and rescheduled
  • Colonoscopy appointments may be cancelled and rescheduled

Individual clinics will contact patients to let them know if their appointment is cancelled and arrange a new appointment with them. We are keeping our programme websites updated with information and contact details for people who have questions about their follow-up appointments.

Ukrainian and Russian translated documents
For Ukrainian people recently arrived in Ireland, a new section on explains in English, Russian and Ukrainian the breadth of health services available to people here in Ireland. These include GP, mental health services, screening, and pregnancy services. The information can be accessed here.

Our screening information resources are now also available on the Publications section of, here. These include translations of our four-programme factsheet, and of information leaflets for each programme. Easy-read leaflets with pictorial explanations for bowel and breast screening are also available. Our health promotion team is engaged in outreach work with community healthcare groups and NGOs to promote screening education and resources. The screening service provides information leaflets, and videos on cervical screening through 22 languages . Click to see videos for: DRSBreastCheckCervicalCheck

Update on processing CervicalCheck samples at the Coombe
Connectivity between the laboratory at the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital (CWIUH) in Dublin and CervicalCheck is now restored. This will enable sample testing to resume at the hospital in the coming weeks. The delay in service resumption is due to the unavailability of a principal cytopathology service at the hospital. This highly specialised service is necessary for the Coombe to restart processing samples in a safe manner. The hospital is putting a contingency plan in place to resume sample processing.

We are thankful to our second QA-approved laboratory services provider, Quest Diagnostics in the United States (which typically processes around 90% of our samples) for processing all CervicalCheck samples while the Coombe service has been interrupted. This has ensured women have continued to receive their results in a timely manner during 2022, with results being returned within our four-week timeframe.

Separately, construction of the new National Cervical Screening Laboratory (NCSL), at the Coombe, is on course to be completed in the coming weeks. The laboratory is expected to be operational in quarter three this year.

BowelScreen Patient Experience Survey
BowelScreen has launched its Pilot BowelScreen Patient Experience Survey, which will gather feedback from screening participants and will explore their experience at each stage of their BowelScreen journey. Their responses will provide us with information on how well we communicate, the standard of our services and to identify where improvements can be made across the programme including our colonoscopy units.

Click here to read our blog that explains the Patient Experience Survey, and click here to read our survey FAQ. For more information on the survey please email:

NSS plans to enhance data protection and information governance
Enhancing our practice around data protection and information governance is a key goal for us in 2022. Earlier this year we began a project to improve our transparency and accountability around how we process our participants’ personal data. This will run until March 2023.

In order to deliver the four national screening programmes we process personal data, with a large percentage of the Irish population covered by our registers. It is important that we maintain the highest standards in data protection and privacy, as well as safeguarding the security and integrity of this information. As part of this initiative we recruited an Information Governance Manager in March to build on work already done; and we have worked to strengthen our controls around information management with the HSE’s Data Protection Office and the Data Protection Commissioner. Anyone who has questions or concerns about data storage can contact us at

LGBT resource published on CervicalCheck website
CervicalCheck has published a resource to support medical professionals in their work with members of the LGBT+ community. CervicalCheck – Quick Reference Guide advises on good communications practices, such as not making assumptions about a person’s gender or sexuality. It encourages practitioners to ask participants what pronouns they use for themselves. It also provides guidance on how to create a positive screening experience for all participants, and contact details for LGBT support agencies. The Quick Reference Guide is available here.

Stakeholder engagement survey and workshop
We are co-developing an NSS strategy that will set out our organisation’s purpose, principles and objectives for stakeholder engagement in the years ahead. We are thankful to the over 300 stakeholders who responded to our survey earlier this year. Using the results, we held a virtual stakeholder engagement workshop to develop the strategy. Attendees included representatives from the Department of Health, various HSE departments, advocacy groups, academia, Public and Patient Participation representatives, screening partners, and NSS staff. The next steps include consulting further as we go on to draft the strategy, which will be published on

You can find up-to-date information on all our programmes using these links: National Screening Service;; and, and Diabetic

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