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The UK NSC recommendation on Thyroid disease screening in adults (currently in consultation)

 

This recommendation is currently being reviewed as part of the UK NSC's regular review cycle of all policies.

The review process began in Aug 2017 and is estimated to be completed by Apr 2017.

» Download the expert review for Thyroid disease (PDF document, 1.09MB)

The UK NSC welcomes comments and feedback on the expert review during the consultation period that lasts from 18/10/2017 until 09/01/2018. Please send comments to Screening Evidence by e-mail using this feedback form.

Please note that all consultation submissions will be published on this page when the review is complete. Full details can be found in the confidentiality and disclosure section at the bottom of this page.

Recommendation Systematic population screening programme not recommended
 

A national screening programme to prevent thyroid disease in adults is not recommended. Tests measuring thyroid hormone levels are available. Treatment of people who are ill because of thyroid disease is recommended within the NHS.

 

Find general information about population health screening.

Why is screening not recommended by UK NSC?

Screening would detect people before they become ill and a review found that:

  • There is a lack of agreement about what a normal thyroid hormone level is.
  • In people who are not ill this means that it is difficult to use test results to decide who should receive treatment.
  • Some people's thyroid hormone levels will return to normal without treatment. These people may not benefit from treatment. It is not known how many this is.
  • There is some evidence that there may be harmful effects from treating people with no symptoms of thyroid disease. These have not been properly studied.

Because of this, the balance of benefit and harm from screening is not known.

More about Thyroid disease

Thyroid disease is a medical condition impairing the function of the thyroid.

Hyperthyroidism, also known as thyrotoxicosis or overactive thyroid, is a condition that occurs when there is too much thyroid hormone in the body. The condition is more common in women than men.

Hypothyroidism describes the general effects of a severely underactive thyroid gland, where not enough hormones are produced to keep the body functioning properly.

» Read more about overactive thyroid on NHS Choices

» Read more about underactive thyroid on NHS Choices

Stakeholders

British Thyroid Association
British Thyroid Foundation
Faculty of Public Health
Royal College of General Practitioners
Royal College of Pathologists
Royal College of Physicians
Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
Royal Society of Medicine
Society for Endocrinology
Thyroid UK

The stakeholder groups will be involved when the recommendation is next reviewed. If you think your organisation should be added, please contact us. More information for stakeholders can be found in appendix C of the UK NSC evidence review process.

Confidentiality and disclosure

Information provided in response to this consultation, including personal information, may be subject to publication or release to other parties or to disclosure in accordance with the access to information regimes (these are primarily the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the Data Protection Act 1998, and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004). If you want information, including personal data that you provide to be treated as confidential, please be aware that, under the FOIA, there is a statutory Code of Practice with which public authorities must comply and which deals, amongst other things, with obligations of confidence.

In view of this it would be helpful if you could explain to us why you regard the information you have provided as confidential. If we receive a request for disclosure of the information we will take full account of your explanation, but we cannot give an assurance that confidentiality can be maintained in all circumstances. An automatic confidentiality disclaimer generated by your IT system will not, of itself, be regarded as binding on the UK National Screening Committee.

Any request for information to be treated in confidence will be taken into consideration in the publication of responses to the consultation. The UK National Screening Committee intends to publish all responses following the closure of the consultation period, however we will not publish responses from respondents who request that any of the information in their response, including personal data, should be handled in confidence. The UK National Screening Committee reserves the right not to publish or take into account any representations which are openly offensive or defamatory.

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