Media Releases

National bowel screening roll-out update

Friday, November 25, 2016 - 08:18

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says Southern and Counties Manukau DHBs will be the next DHBs to roll-out the bowel screening programme in 2017/18, after Hutt Valley and Wairarapa DHBs.

“Around 3,000 Kiwis are diagnosed with bowel cancer each year. Screening saves lives by detecting cancers at an early stage,” says Dr Coleman.

“Budget 2016 invests $39.3 million for the start of the roll-out of the national bowel screening programme. The Ministry of Health has updated the roll-out timetable based on factors such as cancer incidence, colonoscopy wait times, and screening IT capability.

“Southern and Counties Manukau DHBs will follow Hutt Valley and Wairarapa as the next DHBs to start the screening programme in 2017/18.

“Southern DHB has one of the highest incidences of bowel cancer in the country, and Counties Manukau has a large high needs population.

“Both DHBs are managing their colonoscopy waiting lists for urgent and non-urgent cases at over 90 per cent seen within the recommended time, and they have the capacity to support implementation of the screening programme.

“The roll-out timetable will help to ensure that DHBs are in the best possible position to start the screening programme. DHBs will need to meet strict criteria to ensure they can deliver safe and effective screening in their area.”

During the early screening rounds, it’s expected that approximately 500 to 700 cancers will be detected each year.

More than 700,000 people aged between 60 and 74 will be invited for screening every two years once the programme is fully implemented.

The Ministry of Health will work closely with DHBs as they prepare to begin screening and will assist them to meet the requirements of a final readiness assessment before they can begin screening.