The Policy Framework for Population Screening for Cancer provides an overview of the legal and policy frameworks for the three population screening programmes for cancer in the Netherlands, namely for breast, cervical and bowel cancer. In addition, it describes the cooperation and the various relationships between the parties who are involved in the preparation, decision-making and implementation of the population screening programmes. This optimises the way in which the parties involved can work together. The Policy Framework has been drawn up by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and formalised by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS). The document is regularly checked and updated when necessary to reflect the actual situation.
The RIVM has the nationwide coordinating role, meaning that they monitor to ensure that high-quality population screening is provided for the participants and that it is easily accessible and affordable. This creates the optimum 'offering' for those participating in population screening. The Policy Framework is a tool for coordinating the programmes. It is also part of what are known as the 'implementation frameworks' in which the exact method is described for each population screening programme, along with who performs it.
The population screening programme consists of a sequential series of actions that are carried out and coordinated by various parties (the invitation to take part in the programme, the investigation itself, the assessment of the results, the communication of the results and any referrals that may be needed). These activities must be aligned with each other well and must be efficiently structured in order to guarantee the quality of the population screening.