2024/25 entry applications also open for 2023/24

CPD Specialist Bowel Cancer Screening Practitioner Programme

Level 6 (undergraduate), 40 Credits

Start dates
March, September
Course length
8 months PartTime
City campus

Course cost

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Course aim

Colorectal cancer/bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK with over 42,000 people diagnosed with bowel cancer every year, which accounts for 11% of all new cancer cases. 94% of all new cases are diagnosed in people over the age of 50, whilst 59% of the new cases are diagnosed in people aged 70 plus. 1 in 15 men and 1 in 18 women will be diagnosed with bowel cancer during their lifetime (Cancer Research 2020).

More than 16,000 people die from bowel cancer in the UK every year. It is the second biggest cancer killer in the UK. However bowel cancer mortality rates have been falling since the 1970s. This may be due to earlier diagnosis and better treatment.Bowel cancer is treatable and curable especially if diagnosed early.



Course content

The NHS and Public Health England introduced the National Bowel Cancer Screening programme in 2007 to introduce a population screening service to colorectal polyps and cancers. Pivotal to the screening service is the role of the Specialist Bowel Cancer Screening Practitioner.

LJMU in partnership with the Mersey School of Endoscopy, based in the Liverpool University NHS Hospital Foundation Trust have been providing a bespoke course for the practicing Specialist Bowel Cancer Screening Practitioners (SSP) since 2007. The course aims to prepare the novice SSP to work autonomously within an approved NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Centre and meet the specialist elements of the Knowledge Skills Framework (KSF) profile for their role.

This course has been recently revised and updated to accurately reflect the latest developments within this specialised field.

During the programme, you will examine:

  • bowel cancer and polyps: epidemiology, aetiology, pathology, investigations, diagnosis, treatments and outcomes
  • the NHS Cancer Plan
  • the National Bowel Cancer Screening Programme: its development, implementation management and evaluation strategies
  • NICE / BSG guidelines
  • other gastrointestinal disorders that may influence presentation and endoscopy findings
  • medical, psychological and social problems that may influence the diagnostic and treatment pathway
  • total case management of patients, including history taking, assessment, decision-making and evaluation
  • patient preparation for diagnostic investigations, including bowel preparation, consent for colonoscopy or alternative diagnostic investigations and fitness for sedation
  • understanding colonoscopy reports
  • decision-making following colonoscopy
  • advanced communication, interpersonal skills, barriers to effective communication, breaking bad news, patient empowerment and patient advocacy

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered over 10 months, with a total of 400 hours of learning. In response to the COVID crisis all module delivery will be via the virtual classroom with self-directed learning material available on the I.T. platform Canvas.

This programme is offered twice a year, with intakes in September and March.

A minimum of 80% on-line attendance is required for successful completion of this programme.

Entry requirements

  • In order to be considered for this course, you must be in post as a Specialist Screening Screening Practitioner.

    You are also expected to:

    • have achieved a pass grade in a Diploma level programme, or can satisfy the programme team of their ability to study at this level
    • have full written support from their employer to undertake the programme, including protected time
    • have a named designated facilitator and a deputy to provide supervision and support

How to apply

To apply for this programme, you are required to complete an LJMU CPD application form. You will need to provide details of your qualifications and curent employment.


You will be assessed via a competency-based portfolio and a 4000 word case study.

CPD award

CPD Cell Technology, FHEQ7, 20 credits

The University may make changes to a programme of study or module where such changes are deemed to be beneficial to students, are minor in nature and unlikely to impact negatively upon students or become necessary due to circumstances beyond the control of the University.

Further guidance on programme changes.