BACKGROUND Population-based colorectal cancer screening has been shown to reduce cancer specific mortality and is used across the UK. Despite evidence that older age, male sex and deprivation are associated with an increased incidence of colorectal cancer, uptake of bowel cancer screening varies across demographic groups. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of age, sex and deprivation on outcomes throughout the screening process. METHODS A prospectively maintained database, encompassing the first screening round of a faecal occult blood test screening programme in a single geographical area, was analysed. RESULTS Overall, 395,096 individuals were invited to screening, 204,139 (52%) participated and 6079 (3%) tested positive. Of the positive tests, 4625 (76%) attended for colonoscopy and cancer was detected in 396 individuals (9%). Lower uptake of screening was associated with younger age, male sex and deprivation (all p<0.001). Only deprivation was associated with failure to proceed to colonoscopy following a positive test (p<0.001). Despite higher positivity rates in those that were more deprived (p<0.001), the likelihood of detecting cancer in those attending for colonoscopy was lower (8% most deprived vs 10% least deprived, p = 0.003). CONCLUSION Individuals who are deprived are less likely to participate in screening, less likely to undergo colonoscopy and less likely to have cancer identified as a result of a positive test. Therefore, this study suggests that strategies aimed at improving participation of deprived individuals in colorectal cancer screening should be directed at all stages of the screening process and not just uptake of the test.