Professor Natalie Armstrong appointed to UK National Screening Committee Adult Reference Group

Professor Natalie Armstrong (pictured) from the Department of Health Sciences and Social Science APPlied to Healthcare Improvement Research (SAPPHIRE) group has been appointed to the UK National Screening Committee’s (UK NSC) newly formed Adult Reference Group (ARG).

Natalie is a Professor of Healthcare Improvement Research at our University and Joint Group Lead of the Social Science Applied to Healthcare Improvement Research (SAPPHIRE) Group.

The UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) advises ministers and the NHS in the four UK countries about all aspects of population screening and supports implementation of screening programmes. The purpose of the newly formed ARG is to provide advice to the UK NSC on specific issues which require more detailed discussion. These issues include:

  • The case for implementing new population screening programmes not presently provided by the NHS within each of the countries in the UK
  • Screening technologies of proven effectiveness but which require controlled and well-managed introduction
  • The case for continuing, modifying or withdrawing existing population screening programmes
  • Generic issues relating to screening programmes and policy

The ARG also provides a reference group for issues relating to the implementation and improvement of screening programmes.

Natalie is a medical sociologist by background and while her research has covered a number of healthcare topics, she has a longstanding interest in preventative healthcare. She has completed research on cervical, breast, and antenatal screening, and in 2012 edited a special issue of the journal Sociology of Health & Illness entitled “The Sociology of Medical Screening: Critical Perspectives, New Directions”.

Natalie was recently awarded a prestigious Health Foundation Improvement Science Fellowship and is using this to investigate the potential for system change to mitigate over-diagnosis and over-treatment within the UK health system, and how this can be balanced with interventions to prevent under-treatment.