What reports has he seen about the bowel cancer screening pilot, which is set to start at the Waitemata DHB this month?
New Zealand’s first bowel cancer screening programme is being run at the Waitematā District Health Board. It is about to invite the first 500 people to join the programme. Of cancers, bowel cancer is the second-biggest killer in New Zealand, and the $24 million pilot, which was promised for years by the failed party opposite, will run over 4 years and inform us about the costs and benefits of rolling out a full national bowel cancer screening programme. It has been reported that this is the first State-funded cancer screening programme to include men.
What has Waitematā District Health Board been doing to prepare for the pilot?
The district health board is setting up a dedicated endoscopy facility at Waitakere Hospital in west Auckland—another new facility there—to provide colonoscopies for people in the screening pilot who return a positive test result. It has also been working to reduce waiting times. The number of people in the district waiting for a colonoscopy was around 950 earlier this year; it is now down to 550 and it is on track to be around 200 by the end of the month. Ireland, the member may be interested to know, has recently announced a delay to the start of its bowel cancer screening programme because it did not have the capacity to deliver colonoscopies, but the Waitematā District Health Board is very confident it will be able to deliver this long-awaited service.