Bowel scope screening for those aged 50-59 is no longer available.
Following expert clinical advice and engagement with stakeholders including the UK National Screening Committee (UKNSC), the NHS made the decision to decommission bowel scope screening to allow a focus on the expansion of the home testing programme to include 50 to 59 year olds.
This means the programme will cover 50 to 74 years olds which is a key NHS commitment as part of the NHS Long Term Plan.
The decision to discontinue bowel scope will also allow a continued focus on fully restoring the bowel screening programme for 60 to 74 year olds following the impact of COVID-19 and ensure that people are receiving any follow up diagnostic tests in a timely way.
People that have already been invited for a bowel scope will be offered a bowel screening home testing kit.
Bowel scope screening was being offered to people aged 55 in some part of England as a one-off preventative test to look for and remove any small growths (polyps). Of those that have bowel scope, 0.3% will have cancer.
Evidence showed that fewer people were accepting the offer of a bowel scope than expected. Due to the increased demand for services following the introduction of the FIT home testing kit last year – an easier to use and more sensitive test – and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on services, bowel scope screening had stopped.
The NHS continues to work with partners including the bowel screening workforce, on plans to further strengthen the bowel screening programme going forward, in line with the Professor Sir Mike Richards Review of adult screening services. This includes immediate funded opportunities for training, upskilling and career development to help meet the workforce needs arising from the bowel screening age extension.