New NHS Scotland bowel screening test leads to increase in uptake
From Ludo Thierry

News on the site today regarding an overshoot of target being achieved in the Scottish bowel cancer screening programme (and also reaching the ‘hard to reach’ groups):

A new, simpler bowel screening test has seen levels of participation rise to a record high.

Scotland was the first part of the UK to introduce the Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) in November 2017. The new test requires the collection of just one sample, rather than three over a 10 day period as was previously the case.

Statistics show that from November 2017 to April 2018, 64% of those eligible returned their FIT. In the same period the year before, uptake of the old test (the Faecal Occult Blood Test) was 56%.

The biggest improvement in participation with FIT has been amongst those living in the most deprived areas – up from 42.0% to 51.8%.

The number of men doing the test also rose by more than nine percentage points, from 52.6% to 61.8% and there has been a marked increase (8.2% to 18.4%) in uptake amongst those who had never participated before, but previously had the opportunity to.


In Scotland men and women aged 50 to 74 are invited every two years to take part in bowel screening.

Healthcare Improvement Scotland has set a standard of 60% for Bowel Screening participation.

£5 million of funding from the Scottish Government’s £100 million Cancer Strategy is being invested in the national cancer screening programmes, including bowel, to encourage those who are eligible to take up their invite. This funding is targeted towards increasing participation in areas of deprivation and other areas where uptake is lowest.

We don’t expect this good news to make it onto a TV screen near us anytime soon.


7 thoughts on “New NHS Scotland bowel screening test leads to increase in uptake

  1. Legerwood February 5, 2019 / 10:06 pm

    Were there not reports last week that NHS England was missing its targets for the various screening programmes including bowel screening?


  2. Scott February 6, 2019 / 9:12 am

    Good thing about it even though it stops at 74 you can still request the test glad I did it saved me having problems later on.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Craig Beveridge February 6, 2019 / 9:20 pm

    So NHS Scotland exceeded target that NHS England and Wales failed – I’m sure BBC Scotland will carry this….

    Liked by 1 person

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