Published Date: 27 March 2015
Bowel screening standards
Bowel cancer (or colorectal cancer) is a major public health
problem in Scotland. It is one of the three most common causes of
cancer diagnosis and death in Scotland. Together, breast, lung
and bowel cancer accounted for over 40% of all cancer diagnosed in
Scotland in 2012. Each year about 4,000 new cases are diagnosed and
95% of these are people aged 50 years and over. Although death from
bowel cancer is falling among men and women, around 1,600 people
die of the disease each year in Scotland.
Bowel screening can detect blood in the stool.
Where this is found, an investigation (usually a colonoscopy) is
offered to check for cancer pre-cancerous signs in the bowel of men
and women who otherwise have no symptoms, allowing investigation
and treatment to be offered at a very early stage which can mean
better chances of survival.
This document sets out minimum standards for bowel
screening services in Scotland. These standards apply to all people
in Scotland eligible to take part in the Scottish Bowel Screening
These standards can be used to reinforce national
consistency and drive
The sections below will give you an overview on each of
the 9 standards we have developed. For more
information please download the full publication above.
Standard 1 - General
Scotland has an effective bowel screening service.
Standard 2 - Call-recall
Eligible people are invited for screening.
Standard 3 - Information on the screening process
Eligible people are provided with information explaining the
Standard 4 - Uptake
The number of people taking part in bowel screening is maximised
within the priniciples of informed choice.
Standard 5 - Outcome result
The time between returning the screening test kit and receiving
an outcome letter is minimised.
Standard 6 - The laboratory process
The laboratory providing bowel screening test analysis meets
Standard 7 - Pre-colonoscopy assessment
People with a positive screening test result are offered a
timely pre-colonoscopy assessment and a colonoscopy, if
Standard 8 - Diagnostics
Safe and effective investigation is available to people with a
positive screening test.
Standard 9 - Histopathology
Histopathology is carried out to a recognised standard.
The draft standards for bowel screening were published on 8
December 2014, followed by a formal public consultation which
concluded on 9 January 2015. The consultation was an opportunity
for professional groups, health service staff, voluntary
organisations and the public to provide feedback and to influence
the further development of the standards.
The above report details the consultation process we followed to
produce our final standards for bowel screening.