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Bowel Cancer

The National Bowel Screening Programme generates 3,000,000 results per year. It is possible for most practices to arrange to receive the results electronically. This article explains how.

We get numerous queries about patients who do not return their bowel screening letters. How you deal with these is a practice judgement but options include:

Electronic Communication of Results

Nearly three million individual result letters are sent from BCSS per year to practices. After consultation with the GPC and the RCGP the Bowel Cancer Screening System (BCSS) has announced that Faecal Occult Blood test (FOBt) result messages can now be sent electronically to GP practice systems.

Practices may choose to receive electronic result messages in place of, or as well as, hard copy results letters.  Abnormal results sent electronically will always be accompanied by a hard copy letter in confirmation.

The FOBt “results” that are sent in this way are correctly READ coded by the NHS CFH central server before they are sent to the GP Practices. GP practices do not need to re-code them when importing into the patient’s records.  The read codes are as follows:

Please note that this communication facility does not alter the way the Bowel Cancer Screening Programme is working. There are no new duties required of the GP practice.  Receiving FOBT results electronically is simply an alternative that GP practices can choose either instead of or as well as receiving results by post.  Of the practice systems in use, the following are, or plan to be compatible:

Further Resource:

Wessex Cancer Trust:

NHS Bowel cancer screening:

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Updated on Tuesday, 27 June 2023 3882 views