Time to screen 1

The National Bowel Screening Programme 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 on the Ministry of Health website or by phoning 0800 924 432.

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. Find out more at Doing the test.

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.

* Waitemata DHB residents who are under the age of 60 years and were invited to take part in the bowel screening pilot (2012–17) will continue to be invited for screening every two years.

Roll-out timetable

Free bowel screening is currently offered by:·         

- Hutt Valley District Health Board
- Wairarapa District Health Board
- Waitemata District Health Board
- Southern District Health Board.

Other District Health Boards will follow in stages:
- Counties Manukau District Health Board will start by 30 June 2018.
- Nelson Marlborough, Lakes and Hawkes Bay District Health Boards will start by 30 November 2018.
- Whanganui and MidCentral District Health Boards will start by 30 June 2019.
- The remaining 10 district health boards will start over the next two years, by 30 June 2021.

These dates may change. Each district health board must demonstrate its ability to deliver a clinically safe and effective bowel screening service before it joins the National Bowel Screening Programme.