The National Bowel Screening Programme (NBSP) is being rolled out progressively across all district health boards.
Almost $78 million has been allocated to get the programme up and running in the first five DHBs and to cover the cost of establishing a National Coordination Centre and four regional centres. The centres became operational late in 2017. Additional funding has also been set aside for an IT system to support the national programme.
The national roll-out
Hutt Valley and Wairarapa District Health Boards (DHBs) began free bowel screening from July 2017 and Waitemata transitioned from the pilot to the national programme in January 2018. Southern is set to follow in April.
Other DHBs will follow in stages with all DHBs around the country expecting to be offering bowel screening by the end of 2021.
Once the programme is fully rolled-out, bowel screening will be offered every two years to men and women aged 60 to 74 who are eligible for publicly funded health care. Once fully implemented it is expected to detect 500–700 cancers a year.
The NBSP is based on a successful six year pilot programme. Information on the pilot is available at Bowel Screening Pilot.
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.