Bowel Cancer Screening

Description of Bowel Cancer Screening Programme QA

 QA Core Purpose

To monitor and maintain minimum standards of service, performance and quality across all elements of the Bowel Cancer Screening Programme. To promote and lead the continual pursuit of excellence in bowel screening.

Aims of Regional QA Service 

  1. Support both the commissioners and providers of services. Contribute to the specification, commissioning and delivery of screening programmes.
  2. Act as a resource to provide specialist advice and expertise on screening.
  3. Coordinate QA activities between and within professionals
  4. Monitor and review the performance and effectiveness of the QA mechanisms in each individual screening service. 
  5. Devise and operate robust monitoring arrangements and check that screening services are delivered to the highest levels of quality, safety and efficiency
  6. Monitor and report whether screening services are delivered by appropriately trained and qualified staff.
  • Provide advice about and encourage continuing professional education for individuals within the programme 
  • Facilitate close liaison between screening centres and national training centres 
  1. Devise, implement and operate quality systems which: 
  • Maintain a multidisciplinary approach to QA
  • Include collection and review of data
  • Provide a programme of QA visits and their follow up
  • Enable problems to be identified and responded to at an early stage and ensure action is taken by the appropriate individual/ organisation
  • Support the achievement of necessary changes and be prepared to involve commissioners of services and the performance management specialists in the government office as appropriate.
  1. Contribute to the development of national policy by identifying and promoting key areas of development, which are evidence based. When approved ensure these initiatives are implemented and promoted in a timely and effective manner
  1. Develop and implement effective communication systems, ensure clear lines of communication through local, regional and national level. Ensure information is properly consulted upon and disseminated

Essential Components of QA

  • The QA director should report to and be accountable to Regional Director of Public Health (RDPH) (The North East, Yorkshire and Humber is 2 SHA regions).
  • Operate a regional QA reference centre.
  • Work in close partnership and collaboration with the national office of the NHS Cancer  Screening Programmes.
  • Establish a multidisciplinary QA team which must undertake QA visits. The frequency and time period is still under discussion.
  •  Coordinate professional activity within the QA team
  •  Oversee and validate Department of Health returns, KC72, 73, & 74, which are currently being developed
  • Act as a key part of the team for handling screening incidents
  •  Oversee equipment monitoring
  • With commissioners of services, contribute to the development of health improvement programmes (HImp). Seek to establish that screening services are properly reflected within service level agreements and financial distribution arrangements 
  • Participation by all relevant professionals in national audit  


QA Director

  • Manage and direct the quality assurance team.
  • Identify and respond to the training needs in QA of the professional coordinators.
  • Liaise with commissioners and providers of screening services 
  • Report to RDPH and national office of the NHS Cancer Screening Programmes on the performance of QA.
  • Provide copies of all QA reports to the national office of the NHS Cancer Screening Programmes and RDPH.
  • Produce an annual report to the RPDH and national office of the NHS Cancer Screening Programmes.
  • Ensure that action plans are developed to remedy and prevent the recurrence of problems identified by, or notified to the quality assurance team. Monitor progress against these action plans.
  • Manage budgets of the QA service.
  • Lead the activities of the QA reference centre.
  • Participate in the National Coordination Group of QA Directors.
  • Work in close liaison / partnership with the national office of the NHS Cancer Screening Programmes
  • Communicate with media on QA issues
  • Identify and develop best practice

QA Reference Centre

  • Act as a focus for information, including data collection and validation of Department of Health returns.
  • Maintain close liaison with all key professionals, including clinical directors of screening units and supporting professional QA coordinators.
  • Organise QA visits to screening centres
  • Liaise with National Office, Department of Health, Government Office and Cancer Registries.
  • Organise and facilitate regional QA meetings.

QA Coordinator and Reference Centre Staff

  • Act as a pool of experience and resource to support and develop the QA function.
  • Conduct activities using a multidisciplinary approach.
  • Receive and consider QA reports and review any action taken
  • Receive and consider reports from professional groups   
  • Review and report performance data against national objectives 
  • Authorise changes to procedures documented in regional QA manuals 
  • Ensure responsibility for monitoring the implementation of change is delegated to appropriate professional coordinator 
  • Consider progress of screening rounds and identify difficulties with local screening programmes 
  • Review satisfaction surveys 
  • Disseminate performance information within agreed communications strategy

QA Team – Lead Professionals

  • Lead professionals must be formally appointed and act as QA Leads for their profession within the region 
  • Establish good liaison and communications with each screening centre
  • Provide specialist advice to QA director and QA Coordinator and keep them informed of any difficulties  
  • Provide specialist advice to other members of the QA team 
  • Ensure technical issues are considered by all appropriate disciplines
  • Provide support for peers within the region and identify training needs 
  • Convene regular meetings of profession within the region. During the early stages of implementation of QA these will be required at least 2 to 3 times per annum.
  • Ensure professional guidelines are communicated and implementation monitored 
  • Participate in multidisciplinary QA visits and take the lead on own professional aspects of the visit process 
  • Represent the profession at regional and national QA meetings and promote two way communication 
  • Team membership to include: pathologists, endoscopists, specialist screening practitioners and administrative and data collection staff