15 Mar 2018

Health Ministry had been warned of bowel screening botch-up

From Morning Report, 7:55 am on 15 March 2018

The Health Ministry was warned four years before it raised the alert over a serious failure involving bowel screening. The new Health Minister, David Clark, revealed last month that 2500 Waitemata residents had not received invitations to be screened for bowel cancer, under a pilot programme. Eight developed bowel cancer, and three died. However a clinical review determined screening would not have helped five of those people including two of those who died, and it was impossible to say whether it would have helped the remaining three, one of whom died.  Documents released to RNZ under the Official Information Act show Waitemata District Health Board began warning the Ministry in late 2013 about problems with the patient register that screening relied upon. The two were also at loggerheads late last year over who was to blame. Joining me now to discuss this is RNZ Health correspondent, Karen Brown.