Practices and clinics encouraged to take part in bowel screening promotion in May 2023

In May, there will be a focus on promoting bowel screening in primary care. The promotion will use images from the bowel screening multimedia campaign "There’s a screening here tonight". It will promote the campaign message, "The free test is quick, clean and simple to do. You do it by yourself at home."

Increasing opportunistic conversations about bowel screening

The purpose of the promotion is to increase Māori and Pacific participation in the National Bowel Screening Programme (NBSP) through opportunistic conversations in general practice. The promotion will be evaluated to determine whether it increased requests for bowel screening kits for Māori and Pacific peoples, and participation rates for these groups. It will be supported by district bowel screening teams, NBSP, and resources and collateral.

Primary care a key influencer for encouraging bowel screening

The national bowel screening campaign launched in July 2022, with a particular focus on encouraging Māori and Pacific peoples aged 60 to 74 to take part in bowel screening. Research to inform the campaign development found healthcare professionals were a key influencer for encouraging uptake of bowel screening. It further found that family doctors, GPs and healthcare professionals were the top health information source for campaign priority populations of Māori and Pacific peoples.

The campaign has now been running for over seven months, with high awareness among priority audiences. Now this awareness has been established, we are keen to involve primary care more specifically.

Sugguested options for practices and clinics

To cater for different levels of capacity, practices and clinics that wish to participate in the bowel screening promotion can choose which of the two options works best for them:

  • Have a visual display promoting bowel screening – eg, posters, pamphlets, videos (these will be supplied).
  • Have a visual display, a waiting room prompt to encourage patients in the age group to discuss bowel screening with their GP or nurse, and a desktop resource to support the conversation.

The GP/nurse conversation would consist of three questions to eligible patients:

  • Are you aware of bowel cancer and bowel screening
  • Have you received and returned your free bowel screen test
  • If not, could I organise a kit to be sent to you?

Please support this promotion in primary care

Primary care is key to encouraging people to take part in bowel screening. Currently, the overall participation rate for the NBSP is 58 percent, with Māori participation at 49 percent and Pacific peoples participation at 39 percent. The participation rate for non-Māori / non-Pacific peoples is 62 percent. By taking part in this promotion, you will be playing an important part in helping detect bowel cancer at an early stage, when it can often be successfully treated.

More information about the bowel screening focus in primary care will be available soon. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to contact Stella Muller ([email protected]) if you would like further information. Stella can also put you in touch with the person coordinating the promotion in your region.

Page last updated: 14 February 2023