BowelScreen launches new endoscopy service at University Hospital Waterford

NSS Press Release: 08 December 2020

From today, University Hospital Waterford (UHW) will perform colonoscopies for BowelScreen – the National Bowel Screening Programme

BowelScreen is a population-based national screening programme. Serving Ireland’s south-east, the unit at UHW will provide colonoscopy services for BowelScreen participants who have been found to have a ‘not normal’ result from their home FIT test.

BowelScreen is one of the National Screening Service’s three cancer-screening programmes. It aims to detect colorectal (bowel) cancer as early as possible; and to identify and remove adenomas or polyps (abnormal tissue growths). This greatly reduces the risk of future bowel cancer development.

Screening is a two-step process: a stool sample is collected by the person at home, and is sent to a laboratory where it is tested for a level of blood. This is called the FIT test (fecal immunochemical test) which, if not normal, results in a referral for a further bowel examination via a colonoscopy. For people in Ireland’s south-east, this BowelScreen colonoscopy will now take place at UHW.

Welcoming the BowelScreen service, the General Manager of UHW Grace Rothwell said: “This is great news for the south-east, particularly those in the 60-69 year age group who are invited to participate in BowelScreen. University Hospital Waterford is one of eight national cancer centres in Ireland. We already provide histopathology and surgery services for BowelScreen. Partnership with BowelScreen and additional capacity will help us further deliver vital services closer to where people live in the south-east.” 

BowelScreen Programme Manager Hilary Coffey Farrell said: “BowelScreen has the potential to reduce deaths from colorectal cancer by 36% after 10 years of screening, but only if there is growth in participation of men and women. We are delighted that UHW is joining BowelScreen as a service provider serving the south-east.”

Professor Fiachra Cooke, Consultant General and Colorectal Surgeon, and BowelScreen Clinical Lead at UHW said: “I am pleased to be taking on the responsibility as Clinical Lead for BowelScreen in UHW. We are delighted to provide endoscopy services to BowelScreen patients; yet another tool in our fight to improve the health and well-being of people in Waterford and the south-east.”

Clinical Director of Bowelscreen Professor Pádraic Mac Mathuna said: “Bowel cancer (colorectal cancer) is one of the most common types of cancer diagnosed in Ireland affecting almost 3,000 people every year.  It is the second most common cause of cancer death in Ireland. If detected at an early or pre-cancer stage, bowel cancer is easier to treat and there is a better chance of cure. The provision of BowelScreen endoscopy services at Waterford is a very welcome addition to cancer prevention in the region as we work to serve the people of the south-east.”

BowelScreen, which offers a home bowel screening tests for approximately 250,000 people each year in Ireland, reminds people aged 60-69 years to check that they are on the register by visiting The programme is free and it is provided through a simple test kit that is mailed to the person’s home. BowelScreen especially encourages men to engage with the programme, because traditionally the numbers of men screened have been lower than those for women.

For queries, patients can call the BowelScreen freephone information line on 1800 45 45 55 or email


Last updated on: 08 / 12 / 2020