Scottish Screening Committee minutes: 28 July 2020

Minutes of Scottish Screening Committee meeting held on 28 July 2020.

Attendees and apologies


  • Jann Gardner, Chief Executive, Golden Jubilee Hospital (Chair)
  • Lorna Ramsay, Medical Director, NHS National Services Scotland
  • Graham Foster, Director of Public Health, NHS Forth Valley
  • Colin Briggs, Director of Planning, NHS Lothian
  • Liz Sadler, Interim Director of Population Health, Scottish Government
  • Belinda Henshaw-Brunton, Senior Inspector/Reviewer, NHS Healthcare Improvement Scotland
  • Bob Steele, UK National Screening Committee Representative
  • Fraser Tweedie, public partner
  • Susan Siegel, public partner    
  • Marion O’Neill, Cancer Research UK
  • David Steel, Programme Associate Director, non-cancer screening services, NHS National Services Scotland
  • Tracey Syme, Deputy National Screening Coordinator, NHS National Services Scotland
  • Tasmin Sommerfield, Consultant in Public Health Medicine for National Screening Programmes, NHS National Services Scotland
  • Jane Burns, Medical Director, NHS Lanarkshire
  • Karen Ritchie, Head of Knowledge Management, NHS Healthcare Improvement Scotland
  • Caspian Richards, Committee Secretariat, Health Protection Division, Scottish Government
  • Martyn Lindsay, Committee Secretariat, Health Protection Division, Scottish Government

Items and actions

Welcome and Chair’s opening remarks

JG welcomed attendees and spoke about the process of transitioning to the new National Strategic Oversight Function. Going forward this will allow the SSC to take a more strategic overview in line with policy intent. The frequency of and agenda items for SSC meetings will evolve as the Oversight Function develops.

JG stated that a summary update of the SSC meetings will be given to Health Board Chief Executives after each meeting.

The chair of Directors of Finance has been approached to identify a representative to attend SSC meetings going forward.

Terms of reference – NSOB and SCC

The draft terms of reference for the National Screening Oversight Board (NSOB) and SSC were presented and discussed.

LR presented the ToR developed for the NSOB and agreed at the NSOB’s recent meeting, firstly focusing on membership and then focusing on direction and oversight.

The next review of the NSOB ToR will be in November with plans for an annual review after that.

Updated SSC ToR drafted to reflect the new relationships with the NSOB were discussed, and a number of actions were identified for Scottish Government to take away and prepare a revised draft for consideration.

The Committee agreed a number of changes to the SSC ToR including: 

  • making it clear that the SSC is advisory to Ministers and takes into account UK NSC advice in relation to policy. The governance diagram to be updated to make this clearer
  • working with representatives on the SSC to agree a description of each of their responsibilities as an SSC member
  • links with the NSC to be added into section 3 of remit and
  • the SSC to receive and note minutes of the UK NSC

National Screening Oversight Function update

LR provided an update on the progress of establishing the NSOF.

An interim team is now in place, and long-term appointments are in progress.

Gareth Brown has been appointed as Scottish Director of Screening and will be taking up post from the middle of September.

The Secretariat role will be filled from 3 August to provide support, with  another 3 posts in the process of recruiting.

Updates were provided on:

  • implementation of Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing and
  • progress with the ongoing Breast Screening Review

Update on resumption of screening programmes 

Non-routine screening prompts and reminders for cervical screening recommenced from 12 July.

The Bowel Screening Centre has provided participants’ FIT values to Health Boards and patients on colonoscopy waiting lists are being prioritised alongside symptomatic patients from 26 June. 

All Health Boards have resumed screening colonoscopy from 13 July.

Prioritised screening invitations for breast screening issued from 13 July with screening appointments commencing from August.

AAA and DRS high risk cohorts were invited for screening from 6 July with high risk screening commencing from 27 July.

Proposed approach to screening standards during the recovery period

KR provided an update on the approach to screening standards during the recovery phase following the pause of the screening programmes.

All programmes will continue to be challenged to meet the full range of existing standards, but work has been done in HIS looking at restart plans to identify performance standards that will be harder to meet during the recovery phase.

All programmes should continue to meet all standards relating to safe, effective, person-centred care, while recognising that there may be short term difficulties in meeting those performance standards specifically identified as ‘under challenge’ during the restart.

Programme Boards are therefore asked to continue to gather data and monitor progress against the full range of standards, and for those performance standards identified as ‘under challenge’, to review these over the coming period and provide progress updates to the National Strategic Oversight Function and Scottish Screening Committee.

The SSC approved the approach set out above.

UK National Screening Committee update

BS provided an update on the 15 July UK NSC meeting.

AOB and date of next meeting

No other business was raised.

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