Population screening programmes – guidance

NHS population screening: quality assurance

This document explains what quality assurance is and the processes involved.

The role of the Screening Quality Assurance Service (SQAS) is to:

Programme standards

Each NHS screening programme has a defined set of standards to ensure that services are of a high quality.

Quality assurance (QA) assessment

Each local screening programme provider must:

  • have internal processes in place for managing service quality

  • take part in QA assessment and reviews

The SQAS guidance for providers and commissioners explains this process.

Incidents

SQAS in collaboration with NHS England has produced guidance to help manage incidents in the screening programmes.

Shared learning

Screening programmes, local providers, commissioners and other stakeholders can share learning about the NHS population screening programmes. The guidance for submitting a case for shared learning explains the national mechanism for doing this.

SQAS and the national screening programmes review all submissions and share approved cases for shared learning on the PHE screening blog.

Failsafe

A failsafe is a mechanism in addition to usual care. It explains what action is necessary to ensure a safe outcome for the programme and patient.

Each screening programmes has its own detailed failsafe process.

Service specification

The national screening programme sets service specifications to follow when:

  • commissioning local screening services

  • providing local screening services

Care pathways

Read the population screening care pathways for screening and screened conditions. Health care professionals should use these guides to complete screening and referrals in expected time frames.

Key performance indicators (KPIs)

Service providers, programme teams and SQAS use KPIs to help measure the success of screening programmes. Each screening programme provider must report KPI data using the appropriate reporting template.

Equitable access

Screening providers have a statutory duty to ensure all eligible people have equitable access to screening services and information about screening.