NHS Dumfries & Galloway

Advice following national suspension of screening programmes

A national decision was taken recently to suspend screening programmes because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

The reasoning was that while there are risks to individuals through delayed diagnosis of conditions that these screening programmes would have picked up, these risks need to be weighed up in the context of the pressures on the NHS in Scotland posed by COVID-19.

Interim Director of Public Health Valerie White said: “This was a difficult decision to take at a national level. Members of the public can be assured we will restart screening programmes as soon as it is safe to do so. When this happens, invitations will be re-issued and appointments will be rearranged.

“As at any time, it is important that everyone is aware of any symptoms or signs of the conditions being screened for”.

Things to be aware of include:

  • Bowel Cancer – people should be aware of bleeding from their bottom and/or blood in their poo, a persistent and unexplained change in bowel habit or unexplained weight loss.
  • Breast Cancer – women are encouraged to look out for a change in the size or shape of one or both breasts, discharge from the nipple, a lump or swelling in either their breasts or armpits, dimpling on the skin of their breasts, a rash on or around their nipple, or a change in the appearance of the nipple such as becoming sunken.
  • Cervical Cancer – women who experience bleeding during or after sex, between periods or after the menopause.

Anyone having these symptoms should contact their GP practice.

Men who have small or medium-sized aortic aneurysms and are on regular surveillance scans have been written to individually. 

People who have significant concerns with their vision, and attend Diabetic Retinopathy Screening, are asked to contact their optometrist or GP practice. 

Referrals will be made to ophthalmology as required.