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Please continue to refer symptomatic patients

GPs are urged to continue to refer symptomatic patients for further investigation, after the National Bowel Screening Programme learned some symptomatic patients were advised to wait for their free bowel screening test instead.

For every year in the past four years, 85% of symptomatic referrals for colonoscopy have been accepted at Southern DHB. This figure has remained constant despite a 25% increase in referrals for symptomatic patients since the NBSP rollout. Of the patients accepted for referral, 90% are investigated within six weeks.

Here are some tips for ensuring a high-quality referral:

  • Provide all relevant details, including dates of relevant investigations and histology
  • Stick to providing information relevant to the presenting problem, i.e. please don’t append pages of consultation notes
  • Proof-read to pick up transcription errors from voice recognition
  • Check information requirements as outlined in HealthPathways/ERMS.

Early test kits for priority populations only

A reminder to GPs that they can order NBSP test kits early and outside the NBSP invitation strategy, but only for patients within priority populations – Māori, Pasifika and Quintile 5.

To qualify, these patients must be participating in the programme for the first time, and be within the 60-74 year age group.