Improving participation in bowel cancer screening
The national target for bowel screening is 60%, and while screening rates in west London have increased in recent years, some areas in our geography still do not consistently reach this target.
Studies have found that contacting people who are eligible for screening by telephone to provide information about bowel screening, and answer any questions they may have, can help to increase participation.
In 2018/19, RM Partners commissioned a multilingual call reminder service to contact patients who had been invited to take part but not completed and returned their bowel screening kit.
The project proved successful. It increased the number of those participating and the reminder calls also reduced variation between practices. Since 2019 bowel screening rates in London have seen a significant improvement of 6.5% and variation reduced by 2% in west London.
The age range to participate in national bowel cancer screening is being extended to include people aged 50 years and above, starting with those who are 56 years of age, now including 58 year olds and by 2025 everyone aged 50-74 years will be invited every two years.