Alternative access to bowel screening kits for healthcare providers

To increase bowel cancer screening rates, healthcare providers can now bulk order kits to issue to eligible patients during an appointment.

The Australian Government is considering a recommendation to lower the eligible starting age for the NBSCP from 50 to 45 years. Learn more.

About the alternative access to bowel screening kits model

Healthcare providers can bulk order National Bowel Cancer Screening Program kits and issue them directly to patients eligible for the program. Providers should explain why the test is important and demonstrate how to do it.

The mail-out model also allows the National Cancer Screening Register to mail kits directly to eligible people.

Many patients are more likely to complete the test after discussing it with a trusted healthcare provider. You play an important role in helping your patients make informed decisions about bowel cancer screening.

With your help, the alternative access to kits model is targeting people less likely to screen and those who have never screened. Once people screen for the first time we know they are more likely to keep screening.

Getting started in your practice

In 5 steps, your practice can help increase the bowel screening rates of eligible people in your community.

  1. Register for access to the National Cancer Screening Register Healthcare Provider (HCP) Portal. You can also integrate your clinical software for easier access.
  2. Get training to help you adopt and promote screening in your practice.
  3. Order the free test kits through the portal.
  4. Hand out kits to eligible patients and record this in the portal.
  5. Access resources with culturally tailored options, including an expanded range for Indigenous people to promote participation in the program.

To ensure patients get their test results, you MUST issue bowel screening kits to eligible people through the National Cancer Screening Register.

Training guide for alternative access to bowel screening kits

Before you order or issue kits for the first time, it is vital to read the Alternative access to bowel screening kits guide. Both the person ordering AND the person issuing the kits must read the guide.

The National Cancer Screening Register and healthcare provider portal

The program is supported by the National Cancer Screening Register which invites, reminds and follows up participants to screen.

The register’s healthcare provider portal offers a secure environment to access and submit screening data. It is also where you bulk order bowel screening kits and register kits issued to patients as part of the alternative access to kits model.

Closing the gap with bowel cancer screening

The alternative access to kits model builds on the National Indigenous Bowel Screening Pilot. The pilot saw Indigenous participation in bowel screening increase from 27% to almost 40% in pilot participants.

Learn about the pilot that led to increased bowel screening participation.

Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHO) participating in the alternative access to kits model should contact the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) for training options.

Resources and contacts

Resources are available for practices to communicate with patients at all stages of the bowel screening process. 

Visit our alternative access to kits guide to browse available resources.

Culturally appropriate resources are available for health professionals with Indigenous patients.

Contact us at cancerscreening@health.gov.au.

Date last updated:

Help us improve health.gov.au

If you would like a response please use the enquiries form instead.