The National Bowel Screening Programme (NBSP) continues to be introduced around the country with seven out of 20 District Health Boards (DHBs) now providing the free programme to about a third of eligible 60 to 74 year olds.
The remaining 13 DHBs have been told by the Ministry of Health when they can expect to begin screening. The provisional start dates for some are later than previously advised. This is because of the extra time it is taking to develop the new IT system, the National Screening Solution (NSS), which will replace the interim system, currently supporting the programme.
NBSP Director, Stephanie Chapman, says
“This technology will be a significant asset for the New Zealand health system, supporting, not only bowel screening, but other population health initiatives and screening programmes long-term. It’s crucial we take the time to get it right.
“We need a high-quality product with robust privacy and security features and the adaptability to support other health services in the future. I believe investment in achieving such features at this foundational stage will pay off in the long-term.”
The revised provisional timetable for the roll out of the NBSP has Lakes DHB joining the programme in February and Whanganui and Mid Central in late 2019. Another five DHBs - Auckland, Canterbury, Capital Coast, South Canterbury and Tairawhiti will join in the first half of 2020. The national roll out of the programme is still expected to be completed, as planned, by June 2021.
The NBSP is New Zealand’s newest screening programme and the first cancer screening programme offered to both men and women. It aims to save lives, from one of New Zealand’s most common cancers, by helping to find bowel cancer at an early stage, when it can often be successfully treated.