National Bowel Screening Programme

The free National Bowel Screening Programme will be rolled out progressively across all district health boards starting in July 2017.

Budget 2016 has provided $39.3 million over four years to begin implementation of the National Bowel Screening Programme (NBSP). This will cover the design, planning and set-up phases. Additional funding has also been set aside for work that will support the IT needed for a national programme.

The free programme will offer bowel screening every two years to eligible people aged 60 to 74 years.

The roll-out will begin with Hutt Valley and Wairarapa District Health Boards (DHBs) in July 2017, with other DHBs following in stages. Bowel screening will continue to be offered to eligible people at Waitemata DHB, which will transition from the Bowel Screening Pilot to the NBSP in January 2018.

During the first stage of the roll-out, the Bowel Screening Pilot (BSP) Coordination Centre will manage and send screening invitations, coordinate the processing, analysis and management of completed faecal immunochemical tests and results for the Pilot and also for bowel screening at Hutt Valley and Wairarapa DHBs.

A National Coordination Centre (NCC) will be established in 2018 to take over this role. The NCC will host the 0800 number (0800 924 432), send letters to participants following a negative result and notify GPs electronically of all results.

The NCC will also advise the local DHB endoscopy service of all positive results.

The Ministry will contract directly with a single laboratory to provide the services associated with the faecal immunochemical test (FIT) kit.

DHBs will be responsible for delivering colonoscopies, overseen by four Bowel Screening Regional Centres that will support clinical leadership, and manage quality and equity in their area.

DHBs will continue to be responsible for surgical and cancer treatment.

To find out more about the National Bowel Screening Programme, including who is eligible, how to do the test, and when it will be offered in your DHB area, go to the National Screening Unit website.

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