Thirteen district health boards have been told when they can expect to launch a delayed national bowel cancer screening program.
The provisional start dates for some are later than previously advised due to the extra time it is taking to develop the new IT system, the National Screening Solution (NSS), which will replace an interim system currently supporting the program.
Seven out of 20 District Health Boards are already providing the free National Bowel Screening Program (NBSP) to about a third of eligible 60 to 74 year olds.
The NBSP aims to save lives, from one of New Zealand’s most common cancers, by helping to find bowel cancer at an early stage, when it can often be successfully treated.
Deloitte was contracted in late June for the planning and design phase of the NSS with that work expected to be finalised late in July.
“This technology will be a significant asset for the New Zealand health system, supporting, not only bowel screening, but other population health initiatives and screening programs long-term," NBSP director Stephanie Chapman said yesterday.
“We need a high-quality product with robust privacy and security features and the adaptability to support other health services in the future.
"I believe investment in achieving such features at this foundational stage will pay off in the long-term."
An independent review of the NBSP found the large-scale, complex IT project presented a risk to the program if the roll-out was not be achieved within timeframe or budget.
The July Independent Assurance Review for the National Bowel Screening Program report said the NSS had been through changes and delays that put pressure on timeframes.
The roll-out represented posed complex change challenges for the broader health ecosystem including the Ministry of Health, DHBs, laboratories, colonoscopy units, GPs, Primary Health Organisations, and more alongside the various complex IT systems that these entities used, the review said.
The revised provisional timetable for the roll out of the NBSP has Lakes DHB joining the program in February and Whanganui and Mid Central in late 2019.
Another five DHBs - Auckland, Canterbury, Capital Coast, South Canterbury and Tairawhiti will join in the first half of 2020.
The national roll-out of the program is still expected to be completed, as planned, by June 2021.