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Final evaluation report of the Bowel Screening Pilot: screening rounds one and two

7 Feb 2017

The New Zealand Ministry of Health funded Waitemata District Health Board (WDHB) to run a Bowel Screening Pilot (BSP) from 2012 to 2015, to inform whether a national bowel screening programme should be introduced.

This report is the final evaluation report of the BSP, undertaken by Litmus, the Centre for Public Health Research Massey University, and Sapere Research Group. 

The goal of the evaluation was to determine whether organised bowel screening could be introduced in New Zealand in a way that is effective, safe and acceptable for participants, equitable and economically efficient. 

The report found that:

  • the pilot has demonstrated that a national bowel screening programme could be safely introduced in New Zealand
  • it is considered highly probable that a well-managed bowel screening programme will reduce deaths from bowel cancer
  • bowel screening is cost saving and brings health benefits
  • participation in the pilot was higher in most groups than the internationally accepted minimum
  • enabling equal participation in a national programme is essential
  • the evaluation noted the challenges to a national programme presented by colonoscopy workforce capacity.

Budget 2010 committed $24 million over four years for the bowel screening pilot. Budget 2015 invested a further $12.4 million to extend the pilot to December 2017.

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