East Kent Bowel Screening Centre

The National Bowel Cancer Screening programme was introduced across England between 2006 and 2009 and currently has nationwide coverage. In April 2009 East Kent Bowel Cancer Screening Centre was successful in their bid to become part of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program through a rigorous accreditation programme. The accreditation process led to the NHS Bowel Screening Certificate administered by the Joint Advisory Group on Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. Within our centre we aim to provide a very high quality of holistic care through every step of the screening process.

Screening is currently undertaken at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital, and William Harvey Hospital.

Who is eligible for screening?

Screening is for people who are asymptomatic and thus without symptoms. Anyone who is concerned about bowel symptoms should discuss this with their GP or visit the NHS 111 website. All men and women aged 60-74 who are registered with a GP will automatically be offered screening, and over the next few years the age range will be extended to include people from the age of 50.

The test

Patients will be sent a letter inviting them to take part in the bowel cancer screening programme. A small number of patients may need to ring the freephone number after receiving their letter as there are certain exceptions to screening, but the majority need not do anything. A week later patients will be sent the following: 

  • The faecal immunochemical test (FIT) kit
  • A sample stick and sample bottle
  • Two leaflets:
    • A patient instruction leaflet
    • Bowel cancer screening: the facts.
  • Prepaid return envelope

Patients will need to collect a bowel sample and put this onto the sample stick, as described in the leaflet. After the sample has been collected and placed on the testing kit it is then returned to the Southern Hub in Guildford. The hub is the administration and laboratory centre for the Southern Screening Centres. 

All received kits are examined and analysed within 48 hours and results are sent to patients and their GP practice. The FIT kit is analysed to detect traces of blood that may not be visible to the naked eye. 

The FIT test is NOT a diagnostic test for cancer. Results will, however indicate whether further investigation is required.

Video - using the test kit

NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme - using the test kit
Click the image above to watch a short informative animation

If the testing kit did not show any evidence of blood within the analysed samples this is regarded as a normal/ negative test and those individuals will be returned to the screening program in two years until the end of the screening age. If for any reason the initial examination of the testing kit is found to be inconclusive an explanatory letter and testing kit will be sent out for a repeat bowel sample collection. All patients who have a positive/ abnormal result will be referred to the specialist screening practitioner nurse-led clinic.

People with an abnormal / positive FIT test will be invited to attend a nurse-led telephone clinic or a face-to-face appointment at their local Bowel Cancer Screening Centre, currently at Kent and Canterbury Hospital, William Harvey Hospital and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital, within two weeks. The appointment will last approximately 45 minutes. The specialist screening practitioner (SSP) will obtain clinical details from each patient and assess their suitability to undergo a screening colonoscopy. Details regarding screening, what a colonoscopy entails, preparation and the alternative options will all be discussed and patients will have an opportunity to ask questions and clarify any concerns they may have.

The East Kent Bowel Cancer Screening Centre currently has seven specialist screening consultants, nine specialist screening practitioners, and an administrative team to support.

  • Dr Katherine Hills, clinical director for bowel cancer screening
  • Julie Ironmonger, lead specialist screening practitioner
  • Jade Pilcher, programme manager

Getting to our hospitals

For information of getting to our hospitals by car, public transport or NHS transport, plus details of car parking availability - please see the link below:

Find your way around our hospitals

Click the links below to view and download maps of our hospitals:

The East Kent Bowel Screening Centre Admin Office – Tel: 01843 234218

The Kent and Canterbury Hospital Endoscopy Unit - Tel: 01227 783058

William Harvey Hospital Endoscopy Unit - Tel: 01233 616274

Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital Endoscopy Unit - Tel: 01843 234370