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IT delays roll-out of National Bowel Screening Programme

Monday, 17 December 2018  
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Return to home page editor Rebecca McBeth


Delays in developing the new National Screening Solution have pushed back the roll-out of the National Bowel Screening Programme to some DHBs.


Deloitte has been contracted for the initial planning and design phase of the IT system to support the new screening programme, with work expected to be completed in late July 2018.


A Ministry of Health Annual Review published this month says the completion date was extended until November 2018, but the initial design phase is not complete. This initial phase has a budget of $2.5 million and as of 30 June this year, its risk status was green-amber.


Seven out of 20 DHBs are now providing the NBSP to about a third of eligible 60 to 74-year-olds.

The Ministry says start dates for some of the remaining 13 DHBs have been delayed because of the extra time it is taking to develop the new IT system, the NSS, which will replace the interim system currently supporting the programme.

NBSP director Stephanie Chapman says it is crucial to take the time to get the system right.

“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 programmes long term,” she says.

“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.”

The NSS was originally advertised as a five-year project when the Ministry called for registrations of interest in May 2017. The reported fee is $25 million–$50 million. However, Deloitte has only been contracted for the initial planning and design phase.


Subject to the company’s performance, and approval of the business case, the Ministry will either continue with Deloitte or select another company for any subsequent implementation and build phase. understands the NSS is being built on Salesforce technology, but the Ministry says it cannot comment while the RFP is in process.


An independent assurance review for the NBSP released earlier this year said the large-scale complex IT project presented a risk to the screening programme, warning that the build and roll-out may not be achieved within the tight timeframes or within budget.


It said delivery of the core IT solution should not be highly complex technically, but the risks lay in integrating this with all the other relevant IT systems

The revised provisional timetable for the roll-out of the NBSP has Lakes DHB joining the programme in February and Whanganui and MidCentral in late 2019. Another five DHBs – Auckland, Canterbury, Capital Coast, South Canterbury and Tairāwhiti – will join in the first half of 2020.

The national roll-out of the programme is still expected to be completed, as planned, by June 2021.

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