UK National Screening Committee
The Committee was founded in 1996 with Sir Kenneth Calman (Chief Medical for England 1991-1998) as first chairman. Dr Henrietta Campbell (Chief Medical for Northern Ireland) took over in 1998 until January 2006. Dr Harry Burns (Chief Medical Officer, Scottish Government) has been chairman since then.
The committee maintains a list of policies in relation to various types of screening and attempts to balance the risks against the benefits in each case. Some policies say that screening should be provided for everyone or some people, others that screening is not recommended.
In November 2013 the committee were involved in the testing of a new Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing of blood for Down's Syndrome at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children. Invasive screening methods, either amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling, result in a miscarriage in 1 out of every 100 tests. An estimated 90% of women who learn that their child has Down syndrome choose to have an abortion. The outcome of the test will not be healthier children with Down syndrome, but fewer.