NHS population screening: checks and audits for failsafe

These checks and audits act as failsafe processes to minimise risks of anything going wrong in the NHS screening programme pathways.

Each NHS screening programme has a defined care pathway. The pathways show how the individual undergoing screening moves from one stage of the pathway to the next. Checks are needed at each stage to ensure the individual moves seamlessly and safely through the pathway unless they choose not to.

If these checks are not in place there is a risk that an individual does not complete the pathway or the pathway is delayed unnecessarily. Quality assurance of screening programmes includes checking these failsafe procedures are in place and operating effectively.

The guidance covers:

  • NHS abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) programme
  • NHS diabetic eye screening (DES) programme
  • NHS fetal anomaly screening programme (FASP)
  • NHS infectious diseases in pregnancy screening (IDPS) programme
  • NHS newborn and infant physical examination (NIPE) screening programme
  • NHS newborn blood spot (NBS) screening programme
  • NHS newborn hearing screening programme (NHSP)
  • NHS sickle cell and thalassaemia (SCT) screening programme


Published 1 January 2013
Last updated 23 November 2018 + show all updates
  1. Added the new antenatal and newborn screening checks and audits guidance.

  2. Updated the guidance for sickle cell and thalassaemia screening

  3. First published.