Bowel & other adult national screening programmes suspension: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

“when was it (the Bowel Screening Programme) suspended and how many people have not had a screening test sent to them, from the date of suspension up until the date of this email (2 October 2020)?”


The Scottish Government announced on 30 March that the adult national screening programmes, including the Bowel Screening Programme would be temporarily paused due to the impacts of COVID-19. This was a difficult decision that involved careful consideration of all the risks involved, and was made on the basis of clinical advice from the Chief Medical Officer and detailed risk assessments from the clinical leads of the screening programmes and NHS National Services Scotland.

The national screening programmes have all now resumed, as part of the wider remobilisation of the NHS. As of 12 October new Bowel Screening home testing kits are being posted out. For further information about the Bowel Screening Programme you can visit the following link: or phone 0800 0121 833.

In terms of the numbers of screening tests that would normally have issued during this period, we estimate that 505,534 people have not had a screening test sent to them since the date of suspension up until the date of your email. It should be noted that this estimate refers only to how many kits would routinely have been issued, and does not take into account any replacement kits requested, or anyone who has moved in or out of Scotland or who self-refers into the programme (those aged over 75 who wish to continue screening).

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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