People-focused service at the centre of new 5-year strategy published by the National Screening Service

 The HSE National Screening Service (NSS) has today (April 26th 2023) launched its new strategy, setting out the direction for the service over the next five years.

To work together to save lives and improve people’s health’ is the central message of the NSS Strategic Plan 2023-2027 - Choose Screening, Together We Can Make a Difference.

This new strategy comes at a time of increasing demand for health services, where there is a focus on reducing the impact of disease through prevention and early detection measures.

The strategy places people at the centre of the work of the National Screening Service as it prioritises the development, delivery and improvement of its services.

Launching the strategy at the NSS Central Office in Dublin, the Minister for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy, Hildegarde Naughton said: “I commend the NSS on the publication of its first strategic plan which importantly aligns with the principles of Sláintecare and the Healthy Ireland Framework. Screening programmes are a vital part of Ireland’s strategy to improve the health and wellbeing of our population.

“This new strategy builds on the excellent work already done by the NSS and it provides a road map for the continuous improvement and delivery of high-quality population screening programmes that help prevent, and reduce the risk of, disease in Ireland.”

Chief Clinical Officer of the HSE Colm Henry said of the strategy: “It is far reaching and articulates clear ambitions to work in partnership with stakeholders and participants to improve access, support service development and ensure the continued delivery of the highest quality person-centred care.”

Chief Executive of the National Screening Service Fiona Murphy said: “Uptake of screening is crucial to ensuring screening is effective. It is a priority for us that all eligible people can access our services. Ensuring the delivery of a person-centred service is, and always will be, a central tenet of our strategy.”

NSS Patient Involvement Partner Moira Dillon said: “Over the past few years NSS has demonstrated a shift towards shared decision-making which is leading the way for social, political, and healthcare frameworks. The NSS’s Public and Patient Partnership are encouraged by this person-centred approach to care which reflects the HSE’s values of care, compassion, trust, and learning. The new Strategy encourage and attract plural views as we continue to work to improve information resources, screening quality assurance processes, and public health services.”

Partnerships and participation are running themes across the three priorities of the strategy, as follows:

  • Engagement and Partnership: developing new partnerships, improving access to and participation in screening programmes, and improving communications - building trust and confidence in the service to support people to make informed choices about participating in screening.
  • Operational Excellence: sharing our expertise and working with national and international partners to position Ireland as a world leader in the delivery of evidence-based, quality assured population-based screening programmes.
  • Service Development: leading in the development and implementation of new and innovative ways to deliver and improve our programmes, and piloting new evidence-based initiatives.

Over two million people in Ireland are eligible for at least one screening programme. Screening is a choice for people, and one we wish to empower people to make. The NSS is committed to continuing our work with our Patient and Public Partnership (PPP) Network to improve equity in screening and to improve health literacy so that more people can understand the importance and benefits of regular screening.

Fiona Murphy said “Involving the public has become the way we do our business, and their input has been invaluable; it’s key to delivering real person-centred care. We have sought to work with patients and the public as equal partners in the National Screening Service. We’re committed to that end, and to sharing decision-making with them.”

The opinions and expertise of all the people involved in the consultation process helped inform the development of a shared vision and goals. These will strengthen our collaborative work as we move to implement the strategy over the next five years and develop new and improved initiatives.

Minister Naughton concluded: “I am delighted that in 2022 my Department was able to provide additional funding from the Women’s Health Fund to support new initiatives in the NSS BowelScreen, BreastCheck and Diabetic RetinaScreen programmes, all of which will contribute to enhanced services and improved health and wellbeing.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the NSS for its extensive work and to its staff and stakeholders for their enthusiasm in engaging with the development of the strategy. I look forward to supporting future service developments of the NSS.”

The NSS Strategic Plan 2023-2027 - Choose Screening, Together we can make a difference - was developed following an extensive consultation process with our screening staff and participants, advocacy partners, healthcare professionals and associated professional bodies at home and abroad, and our partners across the HSE and the Department of Health.

Last updated on: 26 / 04 / 2023