Temporary pause of non-urgent screening programmes – COVID19

25th March 2020
Covid Update

Health Minister Robin Swann has announced that a number of non-urgent screening programmes will be paused to allow staff and resources to be reallocated to tackling Covid-19.

Health Minister Robin Swann said: “In the next short while we face into what will be the most critical period of our fight against Covid-19. Pausing these programmes will allow reallocation of precious resources to our frontline staff as they undertake the massive task ahead of them. In addition it must be remembered that many people who attend screening programmes are in a higher-risk category for coronavirus and it is essential that we minimise risk to those people at this time.”

The move follows the announcement of plans to suspend non-urgent outpatient appointments and non-urgent surgical admissions.

Programmes affected are:

Cervical cancer screening,
Routine breast cancer screening,
Bowel cancer screening,
Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) screening – new invites and self-referrals, and
Routine diabetic eye screening.

Screening will continue for patients who require:-

Higher risk breast screening,
Surveillance for patients with known (large) AAA,
Diabetic eye screening for newly diagnosed and surveillance patients,
Newborn bloodspot screening,
Newborn hearing screening, and
Antenatal infections screening.

Minister Swann added “This is a temporary suspension and we will resume these programmes at the earliest opportunity. In the meantime I would urge anyone who may have symptoms of some of the conditions that we screen for, to contact their GP.

“All best efforts will be made to contact patients who have received a timed appointment from us to let them know that the clinic has been cancelled. I thank you for your patience and understanding at this difficult time.”