The Centre for Population Screening directs and coordinates the eight national population screening programmes offered by the government. It is also responsible for the National Influenza Prevention Programme. The centre connects the parties in policy making and implementation. It organises and supports the network proactively and aims to further develop current population screening and successfully implement new screening.

In consultation with partner organisations, the Centre for Population Screening then produces, pools and provides access to the knowledge and expertise required. Aside from coordination and management, the centre is responsible for the tasks listed below:

  • Finances population screening
  • Quality assessment and quality assurance
  • Ensures proper information management
  • Monitors the quality of screening programmes and evaluates other aspects
  • Communicates with the public, professionals and stakeholders
  • Pools knowledge and innovates
  • Advises and informs policymakers

The objective is to achieve health benefits and offer citizens treatment options through a familiar, accessible, safe and integrated range of high-quality population screening at reasonable cost.
A large number of partner organisations carry out the population screening. Each party has its own responsibilities and authority. Thanks to the joint efforts of organisations and professionals, the population screening contributes to a healthier society.

How we operate

It is imperative that the organisations in the chain keep the common objectives of population screening in mind. As the supervisor, the Centre for Population Screening ensures optimal collaboration by all parties in the chain. The centre also aims for a high level of quality (effective, demand-driven, secure, nationwide uniformity and innovative), accessibility (accessible, timely implementation, free choice), affordability (cost transparent, efficient and cost-effective) and good integration and links to the healthcare system. CvB monitors the collective interests in a business-like, unifying way. All population screening programmes use national programme committees, whose members are concerned stakeholders who advise the centre. The Centre for Population Screening is the knowledge hub for the implementation of population screening programmes.

The Centre's partners include:

  • Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (commissioning body)
  • Other governmental parties such as the Health Council of the Netherlands, the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMW), and the Health Care Inspectorate (IGZ)
  • Implementing organisations, including the regional screening organisations for the screening programmes for cancer, the regional centres for prenatal screening and RIVMNational Institute for Public Health and the Environment 's Department for Vaccine Supply and Prevention Programmes
  • Professional and branch associations
  • Patient associations
  • Association of Dutch Health Insurers
  • and many other organisations

Fields of expertise

The government offers a range of screening tests to different sections of the population. The Dutch national population screening programme includes:

  • breast cancer screening
  • cervical cancer screening
  • bowel cancer screening
  • antenatal screening for infectious diseases and erythrocyte sensitisation (blood tests in pregnancy)
  • screening for Down's, Edwards’ and Patau's syndromes in pregnancy
  • 'Structural Ultrasound Scan’ (SEO, anomaly scan)
  • neonatal blood spot screening
  • neonatal hearing screening

Finally, the Centre for Population Screening also manages the National Influenza Prevention Programme.

Head of the Centre for Population Screening:  J. (Jaap) van Delden.

Contact

Centre for Population Screening
Telephone + 31 (0)30 274 7554
Fax + 31 (0)30 274 4414
E-mail cvb@rivm.nl

The Dutch national population screening programmes

VOICE-OVER: The Centre for Population Screening directs and coordinates
the seven national population screening programmes
that are offered by the Dutch Government.
In this presentation, we explain the core activities and responsibilities
of the Centre for Population Screening.
There are seven population screening programmes
offered by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport.
Each of the seven screening programmes is offered to a unique group of people.
They include pregnant women, newborns and adults in different age groups,
without symptoms of the disease under investigation.
A large number of organisations carry out the population screening programmes.
Each party has its own responsibilities and authority.
Thanks to the joint efforts of these organisations and their professionals,
the population screening programmes contribute to a healthier society.
The Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport is ultimately responsible
for the national population screening programme.
The minister is at the head of the organisation of screening programmes.
She makes final decisions, determines the preconditions,
distributes assignments and finances the programmes.
The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport
has given the Centre for Population Screening the assignment and the assets
to coordinate the seven population screening programmes.
The centre is also responsible for the national influenza prevention programme.
The task of the Centre for Population Screening is to achieve health benefits
through a range of high-quality population screening programmes.
The screening programmes should be accessible, safe and integrated
within the healthcare system at reasonable costs.
Effectiveness, quality and affordability are therefore among the predominant criteria
within the screening programmes.
The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport
has given the Centre for Population Screening the assignment
and provided the finances to coordinate the seven population screening programmes.
The Centre for Population Screening further distributes assignments
and finances to the private and the public sectors.
The tasks and responsibilities to implement screening are devolved to executing parties
that, in the centre's experience, are most competent.
This is often done by setting up contracts or agreements with executing parties.
The centre oversees all collaboration and makes sure that it works out successfully.
We will now give a more detailed example of the key responsibilities
of the Centre for Population Screening.
The centre either finances population screening itself
or directs other organisations to do this.
Financing is mainly achieved through procurement or subsidies.
With procurement, detailed demands and preferences are drafted,
in regards to the provision of a service or product.
For example, a laboratory analysis or a mammography machine.
The demands and preferences are then published in the market,
so private companies can compete for the contract to deliver the service or product.
The company that can deliver the service or product at the best price-quality ratio
is granted a contract.
With subsidies, an organisation in the screening process,
such as a midwife organisation or a GP organisation,
is approached to do additional work for the screening programme.
The quality requirements and the amount of time that needs to be spent on each activity
will be agreed on, and then the costs for the additional work estimated.
The Centre for Population Screening is responsible
for executing or overseeing the procurement and subsidy processes.
The centre is in charge of assessing quality and assuring the quality
of all seven screening programmes.
In many cases, a reference function, an independent assessor, is set up
for assessing the quality of screening professionals and screening equipment.
Licences and permits are granted by the assessor,
and regular inspections take place.
The assessor optimises and safeguards medical, technical and physical quality.
The Centre for Population Screening is responsible
for the quality of entire programmes and designs quality assurance systems.
It drafts guidelines, scripts, training and accreditation requirements.
The centre is responsible for ensuring good information management
within the screening process and the executing organisations.
Digital information is crucial in managing the primary process
of planning, selecting, inviting and screening the population.
The Centre for Population Screening directs huge IT systems and operations
on linking the information needed from all kinds of different data sources.
With the right information in the right place, key processes can be monitored.
The centre is also responsible
for monitoring the quality of screening programmes
and evaluating aspects for improvement.
Each year, the Centre for Population Screening publishes a monitor report
on the key indicators of each programme.
These monitors are prepared by independent external parties.
They are used for accountability
and for checking the effectiveness, quality and affordability of the programmes.
The centre also commissions scientific evaluations from external research parties.
Strategies for optimisation, explanation of trends and long-term revenues of the centre
are regularly evaluated to improve the screening programmes.
The centre is in charge of balanced communication with the public,
with professionals and with stakeholders.
The Centre for Population Screening is responsible for providing folders
to invitees and professionals.
Information in these folders should be balanced,
so invitees can make an informed decision on whether or not to participate.
The folders are always pretested, using a panel of target group representatives.
The centre also actively updates online information,
follows social media and responds to social media.
The centre furthermore pools knowledge from its broad network
and guides innovations throughout this network.
The broad network is proactively maintained.
Together with many partner organisations, the centre produces and pools knowledge,
and provides access to the knowledge and expertise required
to implement screening programmes.
Together with partner organisations, the Centre for Population Screening
signals, prepares and implements new programmes,
and adapts existing programmes on an ongoing basis.
The centre takes the lead in implementing major innovations
and introducing new screening programmes.
It ensures that they are introduced according to the latest insights
within the existing infrastructure.
Last but not least, the centre advises and informs policymakers
from the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport on the latest issues.
The Centre for Population Screening ensures
that government policy is implemented.
But also that knowledge and developments from every day implementation
are channelled back to policymakers.
The centre considers it an honour
to coordinate the seven national population screening programmes
and is dedicated to carrying this out in a professional, business-like way.
Thanks to the joint efforts
of all the collaborating organisations and their professionals,
the Centre for Population Screening directs and coordinates
the seven population screening programmes
with great passion, expertise and transparency.
The centre hopes to continue to deliver an important contribution
to public health in the Netherlands.

(On-screen text: The Dutch National Population Screening Programme. RIVM Centre for Population Screening. 'Balance is Coordination'.)

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