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Boost for colonoscopy services

Thursday 08 December 2016, 3:31PM

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says DHBs will receive an extra $4 million to deliver more colonoscopy services.

"Bowel cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death. A colonoscopy can identify whether a person has cancer or pre-cancerous growths. Early identification and treatment can save lives," says Dr Coleman.

"This is the latest in a number of funding packages for colonoscopy services since 2013/14, taking the total amount of additional funding to $19 million.

"This extra funding will support DHBs to continue to reduce waiting times and ensure that the progress made on delivering colonoscopies is sustained.

"The latest data shows 3,414 patients received a colonoscopy in September 2016 - that's an increase of 36 per cent compared to 2,508 colonoscopies carried out in September 2013.

"This has helped to reduce the number of patients waiting longer than recommended for a colonoscopy, which in September 2016 was down 66 per cent compared to September 2013.

"Meeting the demand for colonoscopies is a key part of preparing for the roll-out of the national bowel screening programme."

Once fully implemented, more than 700,000 people aged between 60 and 74 will be invited for screening every two years as part of the national bowel screening programme. During the early screening rounds, it's expected around 500 to 700 cancers will be detected each year.

Budget 2016 invests $39.3 million for the start of the roll-out of the bowel screening programme. Additional funding has been set aside in contingency to enable the IT support required for a national screening programme.

The first DHBs to begin screening are Hutt Valley, Wairarapa, Counties Manukau and Southern in 2017/18. Bowel screening will continue to be offered at Waitemata DHB, where the pilot has been operating since 2011.


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