Bowel cancer screening programme independent review – In The News

An independent review has outlined shortcomings of the national bowel screening programme (NBSP) pilot and made a range of recommendations for a successful roll-out.

The review was commissioned by Health Minister Dr David Clark in February after it was found that some patients who should have been screened in the pilot phase weren’t – some of whom were later diagnosed with bowel cancer.

In announcing the outcome of the review on Wednesday, the minister apologised unreservedly to families of those affected by problems in the pilot.

Review chairman Professor Gregor Coster said this issue “highlights the impact of the lack of investment” in the IT system for the Waitemata pilot.

“It has been contended that the Ministry of Health decision-makers did not fully understand the clinical implications of these issues,” the NZ Herald reported.

Recommendations included better project management and clinical oversight, improved IT systems, greater engagement with Māori and Pasifika groups, better relationships with DHBs and external organisations, and a workforce development plan.

The review said the colonoscopy workforce capacity remained a “significant risk and is constraining the current National Bowel Screening Programme (NBSP) roll-out”, Health Central reported.

The Ministry of Health has committed to implementing the recommendations, and will publish the actions it will take in early-2019, then report on progress a year later.

The full review is available here.

The story was picked up widely by national media, including: 

RNZ: DHBs struggle to meet colonoscopy wait-time targets, review finds
Health Central: Bowel screening workforce ‘fragile’ – urgent need to train more, says review
NZ Herald: Bowel cancer screening hampered by relationship ‘breakdown’: Review
Stuff: Govt releases review of Bowel Cancer screening rollout, following missed diagnoses
Māori Television: National bowel screening saving more lives
NZ Reseller News: Lives on the line: ICT flaws identified in bowel cancer screening programme
Newsroom: National Bowel Screening Programme given clean bill of health