Colorectal cancer is a major cause of death in the western world and is currently the second commonest cause of death from malignant disease in the UK. Recently a "driving test" for colonoscopists wishing to take part in the National Health Service Bowel Cancer Screening Program has been introduced, with the aim of improving quality in colonoscopy. We describe the accreditation process and have reviewed the published evidence for its use. We compared this method of assessment to what occurs in other developed countries. To the authors' knowledge no other countries have similar methods of assessment of practicing colonoscopists, and instead use critical evaluation of key quality criteria. The UK appears to have one of the most rigorous accreditation processes, although this still has flaws. The published evidence suggests that the written part of the accreditation is not a good discriminating test and it needs to be improved or abandoned. Further work is needed on the best methods of assessing polypectomy skills. Rigorous systems need to be in place for the colonoscopist who fails the assessment.
Keywords: Accreditation; Bowel cancer; Caecum; Colonoscopy; Colorectal cancer; Credentialing; Directly observed procedural skill; Polyp; Screening; Training.