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Bowel Screening Programme Resumes

The National Bowel Screening Programme is back in action after coming to a halt during the COVID-19 lockdown period.

Dr Nick Tindle, Clinical Lead for the MidCentral DHB National Bowel Screening Programme, said having bowel screening back up and running again will mean early intervention for the community.

“Now that screening is happening again those aged between 60 and 74 in the MidCentral region will continue to be invited to take part. It’s important that anyone who receives a test kit in the mail sends it back so that we can identify any issues. Bowel screening will save lives.”

Since screening began in the MidCentral region in November 2019, 7314 people have received test kits, and 3710 test kits have been returned. One hundred and ninety one people have returned a positive test kit, and 106 of these have had a follow-up colonoscopy. Five cancers have been diagnosed.

The screening test detects traces of blood in a bowel motion (poo), which can be caused by polyps (growths) or haemorrhoids (piles), as well as cancer.

Bowel screening is being offered to 29,000 people aged between 60 and 74 in the MDHB region over the next two years. People aged 60-74 should get their test kit in the post within four months of their birthday in year one (2020) or year two (2021) of the Programme starting in the MidCentral region. People who will turn 75 before they are scheduled to be invited will receive a kit prior to their 75th birthday to ensure they can participate in at least one round of screening.

The national Bowel Screening programme started in July 2017, with MidCentral DHB being the 10th DHB to roll out the programme. Once the national programme is fully implemented across the whole country, more than 700,000 people aged between 60-74 years will be invited to take part in screening every two years.

For more information of the National Bowel Screening Programme, go to or to talk to someone about the bowel screening programme call freephone 0800 924 432.


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