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Bowel Screening Programme | Auckland | Te Toka Tumai | Te Whatu Ora

Public Service, Gastroenterology & Hepatology (Liver), Oncology, Endoscopy (Gastroenterology)

Description

The National Bowel Screening Programme (NBSP) is a free programme to help detect bowel cancer.

It is being offered every two years to men and women aged 60 to 74 years who are eligible for publicly funded health care. Information on who is eligible for publicly funded health services is available here or by phoning 0800 924 432 or email info@bowelscreening.health.nz

If you are eligible to take part, you will be sent:

  • an invitation letter
  • a consent form
  • a free bowel screening test kit, with instructions on how to use it.

The test can be done at home and is simple to do. 

You will be invited to take part in free bowel screening unless you tell us you don’t want to. You can opt out by calling freephone 0800 924 432 or email .

 

Returning your bowel screening kit

You can return your completed kit in the envelope provided in one of two ways. Either: 

1. By posting it, or 

2. Dropping it off at your GP to add to their outgoing mail.

Consultants

Ages

Adult / Pakeke, Older adult / Kaumātua

How do I access this service?

Contact us

If you think you should have a Bowel Screening kit delivered to you contact us on 0800 924 432.

Website / App

Go to our website timetoscreen for more information about the National Bowel Screening programme, language specific information and 'how to do the test' videos.

Referral Expectations

As this is an opt-out programme, men and women aged 60 to 74 years within Auckland will be automatically offered a bowel screening test every two years. If you wish to check your enrolment status and details you can freephone 0800 924 432.

Who should do the test?

Most people aged 60 to 74 years, who are eligible for free public healthcare, can do the bowel screening test. This includes people who are at increased risk of bowel cancer. If you have a family history of bowel cancer you should also speak to your GP who may refer you to the NZ Familial Gastrointestinal Cancer Service.

If you experience symptoms of bowel cancer (bleeding in your bowel motion or a change to your bowel habits that continues for several weeks), you should see your GP.

Who should not do the test?

Bowel screening is not right for everyone. Participants should not be part of the bowel screening programme if they:

  • have symptoms of bowel cancer
  • have had a colonoscopy within the last five years
  • are on a bowel polyp or bowel cancer surveillance programme
  • have had, or are currently being treated for bowel cancer
  • have had their large bowel removed
  • have ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease that is currently active 
  • are seeing their doctor about bowel problems.

Receiving a FIT test result

Eligible participants will complete, at home, the faecal immunochemical test (FIT), which can detect tiny traces of blood present in the bowel motion. Once the test has been posted and analysed by the bowel screening testing laboratory, an electronic message/result will be sent to their GP, or if no GP is selected you will be contacted by a Bowel Screening Nurse. If the test is negative, a letter will be sent out to the participant and they will be re-invited in 2 years' time if they remain eligible to be on the programme.

If a positive FIT result has been received from the bowel screening testing laboratory, the GP/Practice Nurse will:

  • Contact the patient
  • Advise the patient of the positive result
  • Discuss the implications of the positive result (as they will most likely require a colonoscopy)
  • Refer the patient to Greenlane Clinical Centre for a colonoscopy, within ten working days.

Booking in for a colonoscopy

If a positive referral has been received our Bowel Screening Nurse will contact the patient to organise a colonoscopy, explain the procedure and go through a pre-assessment questionnaire with them. The patient will then be sent out a bowel preparation kit to take before their procedure, along with their appointment letter.

Charges

If are eligible for publicly funded healthcare in New Zealand all elements of the Bowel Screening programme are FREE.  

To check whether you meet the specified eligibility criteria, visit the Ministry of Health website https://www.health.govt.nz/new-zealand-health-system/eligibility-publicly-funded-health-services

If you are not eligible for publicly funded healthcare you will have to pay for your test and any treatment that results from a positive test, this includes  colonoscopy procedures.

Fees and Charges Categorisation

Free

Procedures / Treatments

Colonoscopy

A colonoscopy is an examination that involves using a long flexible tube, which has a tiny camera attached and is small enough to enter via the rectum and travel through the bowel. This enables the doctor to see the inside of your large bowel and examine the surfaces directly and take biopsies (samples of tissue) if needed. The procedure is performed in a day stay operating theatre. What Happens Before the Colonoscopy? The Bowel Screening colonoscopies are performed at the Endoscopy Unit at Greenlane Clinical Centre. Your doctor will explain the procedure to you prior to your examination and will get you to sign a consent form, saying that you agree to have the procedure. Before the procedure takes place, your bowel needs to be completely clear of faecal matter. To accomplish this you must follow these instructions carefully: (1) On the afternoon before your test you will be asked to drink 3-4 litres of a preparation called ‘Glycoprep'. (2) It is important that your bowel return is “clear” for us to be able to safely perform the procedure. This means there has to be no particles and the return should be a urine colour. Your nurse will want to know what your bowel return is like. You will need to drink the bowel preparation until the return is clear. How Long Does the Examination Take? The test itself usually takes around 30 minutes. However, depending on your case and the findings, may take slightly more time. What Happens During the Colonoscopy? You will be taken on a bed into the procedure room where you will be asked to lie on your left hand side. An instrument that measures your pulse and oxygen levels will be placed on your finger. A sedative (optional) will be given via the drip in your arm or hand to help relax you – it will not put you to sleep completely. You will be given oxygen to support your breathing throughout the procedure. The doctor will then start the examination. To help in moving the scope (tube) around the bowel you may be asked to change your position and the nurse may have to apply pressure to parts of your stomach. If required a biopsy may be taken during the procedure. A biopsy is when a small amount of tissue is taken from the lining of the bowel and examined later. You will not feel the biopsy being taken. If polyps/growths are present, you endoscopist may choose to remove these. On occasion, if a polyp is particularly big or in a difficult position the removal may be deferred and re-booked on a specialist list. What Happens After the Colonoscopy? You will be taken on your bed into the recovery room. Here the nurse will check your blood pressure and pulse. You will be given time to wake before getting changed and going home. After the examination you may feel a little drowsy as the sedative wears off. You can usually eat and drink straight after the examination. It is normal to experience some gas pains caused by the use of air during the procedure. A walk can sometimes relieve this bloated feeling. A report will be sent to your GP by the next working day. If you have had any samples taken they will be sent to the laboratory. The results are then forwarded to your consultant endoscopist. You should receive a letter in about 3 weeks with results from any histology that is taken. Are There Any Risks? As with any procedure there are risks but these are very rare and a colonoscopy is considered one of the safest medical procedures you can have. Risks may include, bleeding, perforation of the bowel lining and discomfort. Your doctor will discuss these with you, before you sign the consent form.

A colonoscopy is an examination that involves using a long flexible tube, which has a tiny camera attached and is small enough to enter via the rectum and travel through the bowel.  This enables the doctor to see the inside of your large bowel and examine the surfaces directly and take biopsies (samples of tissue) if needed.  The procedure is performed in a day stay operating theatre. 


What Happens Before the Colonoscopy?
The Bowel Screening colonoscopies are performed at the Endoscopy Unit at Greenlane Clinical Centre. Your doctor will explain the procedure to you prior to your examination and will get you to sign a consent form, saying that you agree to have the procedure.

 
Before the procedure takes place, your bowel needs to be completely clear of faecal matter. To accomplish this you must follow these instructions carefully:
 
(1)  On the afternoon before your test you will be asked to drink 3-4 litres of a preparation called ‘Glycoprep'.
 
(2)  It is important that your bowel return is “clear” for us to be able to safely perform the procedure.  This means there has to be no particles and the return should be a urine colour.  Your nurse will want to know what your bowel return is like.  You will need to drink the bowel preparation until the return is clear.
 
How Long Does the Examination Take?
The test itself usually takes around 30 minutes.  However, depending on your case and the findings, may take slightly more time.
 
What Happens During the Colonoscopy?
You will be taken on a bed into the procedure room where you will be asked to lie on your left hand side.  An instrument that measures your pulse and oxygen levels will be placed on your finger.  A sedative (optional) will be given via the drip in your arm or hand to help relax you – it will not put you to sleep completely.  You will be given oxygen to support your breathing throughout the procedure.
 
The doctor will then start the examination.  To help in moving the scope (tube) around the bowel you may be asked to change your position and the nurse may have to apply pressure to parts of your stomach. 
 
If required a biopsy may be taken during the procedure.  A biopsy is when a small amount of tissue is taken from the lining of the bowel and examined later.  You will not feel the biopsy being taken. If polyps/growths are present, you endoscopist may choose to remove these. On occasion, if a polyp is particularly big or in a difficult position the removal may be deferred and re-booked on a specialist list.
 
What Happens After the Colonoscopy?
You will be taken on your bed into the recovery room.  Here the nurse will check your blood pressure and pulse.  You will be given time to wake before getting changed and going home.
 
After the examination you may feel a little drowsy as the sedative wears off.  You can usually eat and drink straight after the examination.  It is normal to experience some gas pains caused by the use of air during the procedure.  A walk can sometimes relieve this bloated feeling.  A report will be sent to your GP by the next working day. If you have had any samples taken they will be sent to the laboratory. The results are then forwarded to your consultant endoscopist. You should receive a letter in about 3 weeks with results from any histology that is taken.
 
Are There Any Risks?
As with any procedure there are risks but these are very rare and a colonoscopy is considered one of the safest medical procedures you can have.  Risks may include, bleeding, perforation of the bowel lining and discomfort.  Your doctor will discuss these with you, before you sign the consent form.

Other

Bowel Screening Auckand Team 

Clinical Lead:  Dr Rachael Bergman

Programme Service Delivery Manager:  Karen Worth

Surgical Lead:  Dr Rowan Collinson

Bowel Screening Nurses:  Kristy Sherley, Cindy Chang, Ann Asunscion

Endoscopy Lead:  Dr Dagmar Hendel

Histology Lead:  Dr Kai Yin Chau

Radiology Lead:  Helen Moore, Dr Jane Reeve

Community Engagement Lead:  Anthony Petera

Administration Support:  Stephanie Kercher

Contact Details

Greenlane Clinical Centre

Central Auckland

NATIONAL BOWEL SCREENING PROGRAMME: FREEPHONE 0800 924 432

214 Green Lane West
Epsom
Auckland 1051

Our Endoscopy unit is on Level 2, Building 4, Green Lane Clinical Centre.

Information about this location

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Get directions

Street Address

214 Green Lane West
Epsom
Auckland 1051

Our Endoscopy unit is on Level 2, Building 4, Green Lane Clinical Centre.

Postal Address

Private Bag 92 189
Auckland Mail Centre
Auckland 1142

This page was last updated at 3:49PM on January 25, 2024. This information is reviewed and edited by Bowel Screening Programme | Auckland | Te Toka Tumai | Te Whatu Ora.