Another 65,000 New Zealanders will have access to free bowel screening from today with Counties Manukau District Health Board joining the National Bowel Screening Programme (NBSP).
The programme provides free screening to men and women aged 60 to 74 and aims to detect bowel cancer early, when it can often be successfully treated.
Counties Manukau is the fifth DHB to join the programme, which is being progressively introduced throughout the country. Clinical Director Dr Susan Parry says the Ministry is excited to have Counties Manukau on board.
“Counties Manukau is an ethnically diverse population. We encourage communities and whanau to support members to complete and send back the test kits that come in the post. Although Māori and Pacific peoples are less likely to get bowel cancer, they tend to have more advanced disease. Screening can help detect cancer early and improve outcomes.
Dr Parry says the DHB has done a huge amount of work, both clinically and operationally, to meet the necessary Ministry of Health requirements to join the national programme.
“DHB’s need to demonstrate they have the specialist staff and facilities to be able to offer a safe, effective and sustainable bowel screening programme and complete an extensive checklist of requirements to show they are ready. Counties Manukau has met that criteria and I am delighted to welcome them to the national programme.”
Five DHBs are now part of the National Bowel Screening Programme. They are Waitemata, Hutt Valley, Wairarapa, Southern and Counties Manukau. Nelson Marlborough, Lakes and Hawkes Bay are expected to join by the end of this year with bowel screening scheduled to be available nationwide by mid-2021.