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Professor Sir Mike Richards has said that the NHS should roll out online booking, out of hours appointments and text reminders to boost the uptake of breast, cervical and other screening services.
The first NHS cancer director, Richards is leading a major overhaul of national cancer screening programmes as part of a renewed drive to improve care and save lives. His newly published interim report calls for practical measures to be used across the NHS to make screening more convenient and reverse the long-standing decline in the proportion of people being tested.
Increasing early detection of cancers when they are easier to treat is at the heart of the NHS’s Long Term Plan to upgrade services and make sure patients benefit from new technologies and treatments. Screening can help spot problems early before a person has any symptoms, when cancer is often easier to treat.
Richards said: “Our screening programmes have led the world and save around 9,000 lives every year. However, people live increasingly busy lives and we need to make having a screening appointment as simple and convenient as booking a plane ticket online. The technology exists in many other walks of life and by adopting it across the NHS we can help identify even more cancers early when they are easier to treat and save more lives.”