Bowel Cancer Screening Hub

Bowel cancer screening is one of 11 NHS national population screening programmes available in England. Comprising of 5 Screening Hubs and 64 Screening Centres the programme aims to reduce the risk of dying from bowel cancer by at least 25%. More general information can be found at:

The North East Bowel Cancer Screening Programme Hub (NE BCSP) is the most northerly of the 5 national screening Hubs and forms part of Pathology Services South of Tyne based at the QEH Gateshead.

We provide screening support for a registered population of approximately 8.5 million people from Berwick to Hull comprising 25 CCGs and 9 Screening Centres*.

Our services include:
•Management of invitations (in-house mailing process)
•Telephone enquiries via national helpline 0800 707 60 60 (call-centre function)
•Processing Faecal Immunochemical Tests (FIT) (laboratory process)
•Issue of results (in-house mailing process)
•Arrangement of hospital appointments (call-centre function)

Since 2007 we have issued and tested bowel screening tests on the QEH site. Initially using Faecal Occult Blood ‘card’ tests (FOBt), in June 2019 this was replaced by the Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT). This new, analyser read, test offers greater specificity and sensitivity in the detection of human blood in stool samples. Its introduction marked a major milestone in the development of the screening programme and has undoubtedly led to a greater detection of adenomas and early cancers.
FIT is a home test kit and is sent by post automatically every two years from age 60 – 74. In 2020 a decision was made to extend the age range to 50 yrs. This commenced with 56 yr. olds in April 2020. Full roll out to 50 yrs. is expected to take 4 yrs. to complete.

*Screening Centres provide Specialist Screening Practitioner (SSP) clinics and colonoscopy services for the screening programme.