As part of the National Services Purchasing group within the Ministry of Health, the Unit is responsible for the safety, effectiveness and quality of organised screening programmes. The Unit is currently responsible for the national coordination of five screening programmes:
- BreastScreen Aotearoa - screens women for breast cancer
- National Cervical Screening Programme - screens women for abnormal changes to cells on the cervix
- Newborn Metabolic Screening Programme - screens newborn babies for certain metabolic disorders
- Antenatal HIV Screening Programme - screens pregnant women for HIV to reduce the chances of HIV being passed to the baby
- Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Programme - screens newborn babies for hearing loss
The National Screening Unit is also responsible for introducing the quality improvement measures for antenatal screening for Down syndrome and other conditions.
The NSU monitors the quality of screening programmes, and works with expert groups to make sure each screening programme is based on the latest evidence and meets high standards. The NSU also advises the Government on other potential programmes.
The core functions of the National Screening Unit include:
- national co-ordination, leadership, and advice to government regarding screening
- ensuring obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi are met
- research and development including evaluation of new evidence related to screening and evidence-based appraisal of technological advances in screening
- developing frameworks, policies and standards
- monitoring performance and evaluating screening services
- coordinating, leading and developing a screening workforce
- administering legislation related to screening programmes
- identifying under-screened groups and developing effective strategies to improve their participation.
In this section
The National Screening Unit has offices in Wellington and Auckland. View contact details for both sites.
Most people take part in screening in order to be reassured they are healthy, rather than with the expectation they are not. However, screening does not give you a diagnosis.
The NSU has five screening programmes and one quality improvement programme.
The National Screening Unit's (NSU’s) vision is for ‘high-quality, equitable and accessible national screening programmes’.
Quality health care is about doing the right thing, at the right time, in the right way, for the right person – and having the best possible results.
The National Screening Unit seeks external advice from a range of sources to support its work.
There is a wealth of information on the internet about screening and associated topics. This page offers some recommended sites
The Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights provides that New Zealand healthcare consumers have a legal right to appropriate information to enable them to give informed consent.
Information about the National Screening Unit website, including privacy and copyright information.