For health professionals with Indigenous patients

Health professionals in Indigenous health services can help their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients to complete bowel screening and save lives.

Lowered eligible age for bowel screening

From 1 July 2024, people aged 45 to 49 can join the program. You can request a kit for an eligible patient via the HCP Portal or issue them a kit via the alternative access to kits model. Alternatively, you or your patient can request a kit by submitting the webform or calling 1800 627 701.

Learn more about the change.

Alternative access to kits

Participating 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.

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 on bowel screening, using the portal and how to have conversations with patients.
  3. Order the free test kits in bulk.
  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.

Register for access to the HCP Portal

Healthcare providers must register for access to the National Cancer Screening Register Healthcare Provider (HCP) Portal before they can:

  • bulk order bowel screening kits
  • issue kits
  • access and submit bowel screening data electronically.

Find out how to get set up with the portal. You can also watch a video or read instructions (PDF, 82KB) on completing this step.

Learn more about registering to the HCP Portal in the alternative access to bowel screening kits guide.

Get training

Before ordering kits for the first time, you must complete some short training to understand the alternative access model and your role in it. Participating ACCHOs should contact NACCHO for training options.

Eligible healthcare providers can learn more in the alternative access to bowel screening kits guide.

Order kits in bulk

Participating healthcare providers can now bulk order bowel screening kits from the HCP Portal.

You can order kits in batches of 10, with the recommended number per provider being 30. To order kits, log into the HCP Portal – the button for iFOBT bulk orders is along the top. It should take less than 2 minutes to complete.

Learn more about bulk ordering kits in the alternative access to bowel screening kits guide.

Hand out a kit and record it in the HCP Portal

You’ve had a chat with your patient about completing the bowel cancer screening test – and will be giving them the kit to take home. To ensure the samples can be tested and the results sent to the correct address, complete these 2 steps in the portal:

  1. check the patient’s details are correct and make any necessary changes.
  2. print a copy of the participant details form for the patient to include with their samples in the reply-paid envelope.

This process should take less than 2 minutes to complete.

You can also watch a short video or read instructions (PDF, 82KB) on completing this step.

Learn more about issuing kits in the alternative access to bowel screening kits guide.

Encouraging bowel screening

You can encourage your patients to do a bowel screening test kit if the person is aged between 45 and 74. It could form part of their annual 715 health check.

Use this checklist for talking with patients about bowel screening.

To encourage bowel screening, you can:

  • tell them that if found early, it can be successfully treated in more than 90% of cases
  • show them an open kit and explain how to use it
  • reassure them that it can help them stay healthy and strong for family.

The patient completes the kit at home. Then, they either return it in the reply-paid envelope or drop it off at your health centre for you to mail to the laboratory. If they need a cool place to store their samples, you can offer that too.

Learn more about encouraging your patients to do a bowel screening test in the alternative access to bowel screening kits guide.

Receiving results

Health services will get results for their patients if nominated on the participant details form that comes with the kit. Both the patient and the health centre will get these results by mail within 4 weeks.

If you receive a positive result for a patient, contact them to schedule an appointment with their doctor.

If you have not received results for a patient, contact the Test Kit Helpline.

Learn more about discussing results with patients in the alternative access to bowel screening kits guide.

Resources

You can use these resources to promote bowel screening to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients.

For health professionals

For Indigenous families and communities

Date last updated:

Help us improve health.gov.au

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