Screening Services

NHS Health checks 

The NHS Health Check is your chance to get your free midlife MOT. If you are in the 40-74 age group, without a pre-existing condition, you can expect to receive a letter from your GP or local authority inviting you for a free NHS health Check. Don’t worry if you haven’t got your invitation yet, as you will be invited for one over the next few years.

As we get older, we have a higher risk of developing something dangerous to our health. Your NHS Health Check can spot early signs of high blood pressure, heart disease or type 2 diabetes and help prevent these happening to you. You’ll be given advice and support to help you lower your risk and maintain or improve your vascular health.

Your NHS health check can be repeated every 5 years, providing you have not developed a long term condition (we provide specialist checks for these).

The check is for people who are aged 40 to 74 who do not have any of the following pre-existing conditions:

  • heart disease
  • chronic kidney disease
  • diabetes
  • high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • atrial fibrillation
  • transient ischaemic attack
  • inherited high cholesterol (familial hypercholesterolemia)
  • heart failure
  • peripheral arterial disease
  • stroke
  • currently being prescribed statins to lower cholesterol
  • previous checks have found that you have a 20% or higher risk of getting cardiovascular disease over the next 10 years

You should have regular check-ups if you have one of these conditions. Your care team will be able to give you more information about this.


Bowel cancer screening

NHS bowel cancer screening checks if you could have bowel cancer. It's available to everyone aged 60 to 74 years.

The programme is expanding to make it available to everyone aged 50 to 59 years. This is happening gradually over 4 years and started in April 2021.

You use a home test kit, called a faecal immunochemical test (FIT), to collect a small sample of poo and send it to a lab. This is checked for tiny amounts of blood.

Blood can be a sign of polyps or bowel cancer. Polyps are growths in the bowel. They are not cancer, but may turn into cancer over time.

If the test finds anything unusual, you might be asked to go to hospital to have further tests to confirm or rule out cancer.

Always see a GP if you have symptoms of bowel cancer at any age, even if you have recently completed a NHS bowel cancer screening test kit – do not wait to have a screening test.

If you're 75 or over, you can ask for a kit every 2 years by phoning the free bowel cancer screening helpline on 0800 707 60 60.

How to get a home test kit?

Everyone aged 60 to 74 years who is registered with a GP and lives in England is automatically sent an NHS bowel cancer screening kit every 2 years.

The programme is expanding so that everyone aged 50 to 59 years will be eligible for screening. This is happening gradually over 4 years and started in April 2021 with 56 year olds.

The programme has also started to include 58 year olds, so you may get a test before you're 60.

Make sure your correct address is on record to ensure your kit is posted to the right place.

If you're 75 or over, you can ask for a kit every 2 years by phoning the free bowel cancer screening helpline on 0800 707 60 60.

If you're worried about a family history of bowel cancer or have any symptoms, speak to a GP for advice.


Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) Screening

Is a way of detecting a dangerous swelling (aneurysm) of the aorta –the main blood vessel that runs from the heart, down through the abdomen to the rest of the body.  An AAA usually causes no symptoms, but if it bursts, it’s extremely dangerous and usually fatal.

Men aged over 65 are far more likely to have an AAA than women or younger men – so any man registered with a GP will receive a letter inviting him for screening in the year he turns 65. Men aged over 65 can request a scan by contacting their local screening centre directly on: 0191 445 8747

Screening involves a simple ultrasound scan of your stomach (abdomen), which takes about 10-15 minutes. If your abdominal aorta is not enlarged, you don’t ever need to be tested again. If you have a small to medium aneurysm, you'll be regularly monitored to check it doesn’t get dangerously larger. If you are found to have a large aneurysm, you'll be seen by a vascular surgeon (a specialist in blood vessels) within two weeks. They will advise on whether you would benefit from treatment to reduce the risk of it bursting.


Cervical Screening

Cervical screening (a smear test) checks the health of your cervix. The cervix is the opening to your womb from your vagina. It's not a test for cancer, it's a test to help prevent cancer.

All women and people with a cervix aged 25 to 64 should be invited by letter. Please call us to book an appointment with one of our practice nurses.

During the screening appointment, a small sample of cells will be taken from your cervix. The sample is checked for certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV) that can cause changes to the cells of your cervix. These are called "high risk" types of HPV. If these types of HPV are not found, you do not need any further tests. If these types of HPV are found, the sample is then checked for any changes in the cells of your cervix. These can then be treated before they get a chance to turn into cervical cancer.

The nurse or doctor will tell you when you can expect your results letter.

All women and those with a cervix are invited:

  • Under 25         Up to 6 months before you turn 25
  • 25 to 49          Every 3 years
  • 50 to 64           Every 5 years
  • 65 or older      Only if 1 of your last 3 tests was abnormal

Breast Screening

NHS breast screening checks use X-rays to look for cancers that are too small to see or feel.

Anyone registered with a GP as female will be invited for NHS breast screening every 3 years between the ages of 50 and 71. You'll get a letter in the post inviting you.

You'll automatically get your first invite for breast screening between the ages of 50 and 53. Then you'll be invited every 3 years until you turn 71.

If you're a trans man, trans woman or are non-binary you may be invited automatically, or you may need to speak to us or call the local breast screening service to ask for an appointment.

For our area, your local service is:

North Lancashire & South Cumbria BSS
Breast Care Unit
Royal Lancaster Infirmary
01524 518699