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The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program data set specification (NBCSP DSS) comprises a set of standardised data definitions used for monitoring the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program. This DSS includes information on people who have or will be participating in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.

This metadata set is not mandated for collection, i.e. it reflects best practice when collecting data in relation to bowel screening rather than a nationally mandated set of data that must be provided.

It is intended to be used by the National Bowel Cancer Screening Register. It can also be used by a wider range of health and health-related professionals who collect and/or use the data in relation to the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.

It provides concise, unambiguous definitions for items related to the Program and aims to ensure the standardised methodology of data collection.

The data set covers data in the following areas:

  • Demographic data of participants
  • Bowel cancer screening tests (such as the faecal occult blood test)
  • Bowel cancer diagnostic assessments (such as colonoscopy examinations and histopathological analyses on colorectal cancers and colorectal polyps).

Not included at this stage:

  • General Practitioner consultations

Metadata items in this Data Set Specification

Below is a list of all the components within this Dataset Specification.
Each entry includes the item name, whether the item is optional, mandatory or conditional and the maximum times the item can occur in a dataset.
If the items must occur in a particular order in the dataset, the sequence number is included before the item name.

Data Elements
Reference Data Element Data Type Length Inclusion #
Person—person identifier, X[X(19)] - - mandatory 1
Correspondence—correspondence identifier, N[N(8)]
Specific Information:
People can have multiple interactions with the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP) system and will have a different correspondence number for each interaction. For example, a person will have a correspondence identifier for a screening invitation, a faecal occult blood test (FOBT), a general practitioner consultation and a colonoscopy.
- - mandatory 99



Glossary items

Glossary terms that are relevant to this Data set specification are included here:


Adverse event

Bowel cancer

Cancer diagnostic assessment

Cancer screening

Colorectal cancer clinico-pathological stage

Colorectal polyps


Disease screening

Faecal occult blood test (FOBT)


Geographic indicator

Hospital-in-the-home care

Record linkage


Urban Centre


Related content

Relation Count
As a numerator in an Indicator 0
As a denominator in an Indicator 0
As a disaggregation in an Indicator 0