The Ministry of Health is celebrating the launch of the free National Bowel Screening Programme in Hutt Valley and Wairarapa.
Every year more than 3,000 New Zealanders are diagnosed with bowel cancer and more than 1,200 die from it.
The first letters are being sent this week to eligible residents, aged 60 to 74 years, in the Hutt Valley and Wairarapa District Health Board (DHB) areas. All other DHBs will join the programme in stages over the next three years.
For a list of the proposed roll out by DHBs, scroll to bottom of this article.
The Director-General of Health, Chai Chuah, says “The start of bowel screening in Hutt Valley and Wairarapa is a milestone that we need to celebrate.
“This is the first cancer screening programme in New Zealand for men and women. It’s also the only screening programme where participants do the test in the privacy of their own home, and then post it to the laboratory for testing.
“We know that through helping to detect bowel cancer at an early stage, this programme will save lives. I encourage New Zealanders to do the test when they’re invited.
“The launch of the National Bowel Screening Programme is the culmination of years of work by staff at Waitemata District Health Board which has run the Bowel Screening Pilot, and the Ministry of Health. People from across the health sector have been involved in consultation and planning, including DHBs, Primary Health Organisations, laboratories, and advocacy groups. There has been a huge amount of interest and support from New Zealanders who have been calling for the creation of a national bowel screening programme.
“I’d like to thank all of those who’ve helped to make this screening programme a reality, especially our colleagues in Waitemata DHB, and congratulate Hutt Valley and Wairarapa DHBs for being the first to join the National Bowel Screening Programme. This is a clear example of actioning the One Team theme in the New Zealand Health Strategy.”
The DHBs which will start screening in the 2017/18 financial year (1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018) are:
- Waitemata DHB
- Hutt Valley DHB
- Wairarapa DHB
- Counties Manukau DHB
- Southern DHB
The following DHBs are expected to begin screening in the 2018/19 financial year (1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019):
- Northland DHB
- Auckland DHB
- Waikato DHB
- Hawkes Bay DHB
- Whanganui DHB
- MidCentral DHB
- Capital & Coast DHB
- Nelson Marlborough DHB
- Canterbury DHB
- South Canterbury DHB
The final group of DHBs, which are set to begin screening in the 2019/20 financial year (1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020), are:
- Bay of Plenty DHB
- Tairawhiti DHB
- Lakes DHB
- Taranaki DHB
- West Coast DHB
These are provisional start dates only. Each DHB must demonstrate their ability to deliver a safe and effective bowel screening service before they can join the national bowel screening programme.