About the National Bowel Screening Programme

The National Bowel Screening Programme is being progressively rolled out throughout New Zealand.

Hutt Valley and Wairarapa District Health Boards (DHBs) began free bowel screening from July 2017 and Waitemata transitioned from the Pilot to the National Bowel Screening Programme in January 2018. Information on the Pilot is available on the Ministry of Health website.

Other DHBs will follow in stages.

Once the programme is fully rolled out, bowel screening will be offered every two years to men and women aged 60 to 74 who are eligible for publicly funded health care.

The timetable for the rollout of the NBSP was revised in January 2018. This is to enable the development of the National Software Solution (NSS) to support the programme long term. The NSS is planned to be ready by March 2019.

The implementation timetable based on the current programme plan is:

  • Hutt Valley and Wairarapa DHB began free bowel screening in July 2017
  • Waitemata DHB transitioned to the national programme in January 2018
  • Southern and Counties Manukau DHBs will start bowel screening by 30 June 2018
  • Nelson Marlborough, Lakes and Hawkes Bay DHBs by 30 November 2018. These eight DHBs will use the interim technology solution
  • two DHBs (yet to be confirmed but proposed to be Whanganui and Mid-Central) roll-out bowel screening by 30 June 2019 using the National Software Solution (NSS)
  • the remaining 10 DHBs will commence bowel screening over the next two financial years (2019/20 and 2020/21), using the NSS.

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.

More information on the National Bowel Screening Programme is available on the Ministry of Health website.

Minister of Health’s review of the National Bowel Screening Programme

In February 2018 Health Minister Dr David Clark initiated a review of the NBSP after it was found some people did not receive invitations for screening during the pilot phase of the programme that ran from 2011 to 2017. Find out more about the review.

Who is eligible?

The free National Bowel Screening Programme is being offered to men and women aged 60 to 74 who are eligible for publicly funded health care.

When it is your turn to be screened you will be sent an invitation letter, a consent form and a free bowel screening test kit.

You'll receive your first invitation within two years of the programme starting in your area.

Governing legislation

Who can access participant information

Information about any further assessment or treatment you may need as a result of participating in the National Bowel Screening Programme will be collected from both public and private health services and used to monitor and evaluate the National Bowel Screening Programme.

Personal information and data are collected, stored, accessed and destroyed to a standard that complies with the Health Privacy Code 1994.

Making a complaint

The Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights allows you to make a complaint in a way that is appropriate for you.

If you want to make a complaint about this programme or the service you have received, you can phone the National Bowel Screening Programme on 0800 924 432 for more information about the best options for you.

You can also get information from the Office of the Health and Disability Commissioner. Call 0800 112 233 or visit the Health and Disability Commissioner website.

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Page last updated: 01 February 2018
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