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:

  • Entering into the computer history
  • Flag the record (computerised post-it) so next contact with Primary Care Team patient will be reminded
  • Send a letter to the patient from surgery. This may be worth a GP signing. You can download a Bowel Cancer Screening Template letter from here

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:

  • 686A Normal
  • 686B Abnormal
  • 686C Incomplete Participation
  • 6867 Spoilt
  • 90w2 Non Response

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:

  • InPractice Systems (Vision)
  • Microtest Already live
  • iSOFT April/May 2011
  • EMIS LV June 2011
  • EMIS PCS June 2011
  • EMIS WEB June 2011
  • CSC (TPP) To be confirmed

Further Resource:

Wessex Cancer Trust

Cancer Matters Wessex

NHS Bowel cancer screening

Educational Podcasts and Videos Focusing on Cancer

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