Northern Ireland

Coronavirus: Some cancer screening appointments suspended

screening Image copyright Science photo library

A number of appointments at routine cancer screening clinics in Northern Ireland have been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Department of Health said it was because staff and resources were being reallocated to the front line.

Patients are being contacted by health trusts to let them know if their appointments have been suspended.

The department said a number of screenings will still go ahead as normal.

The screenings suspended are:

  • Routine cervical cancer
  • Routine breast cancer
  • Bowel cancer
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening and monitoring
  • Routine diabetic eye screening and monitoring.

The routine screening that will continue are:

  • Breast screening for those in the higher-risk category;
  • Diabetic eye screening for pregnant women;
  • Newborn bloodspot screening (the heel prick test that checks for a range of conditions);
  • Newborn hearing screening, which will be completed before discharge from the maternity unit;
  • Antenatal infections screening
  • Smear tests for non-routine cervical screening, where women have had a repeat test requested after a colposcopy or by the laboratory.

The Department of Health said anyone who develops symptoms of any condition that would routinely be screened for should still contact their GP.