National Bowel Cancer Screening Program - information for health professionals
The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (the Program) offers free bowel cancer screening to eligible people.
Bowel cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in Australia. Around 80 Australians die each week from the disease. Bowel cancer can be treated successfully if detected early, but currently less than 40 per cent of bowel cancers are detected early.
Australians turning 50, 55, 60 and 65 years of age, who hold a Medicare or Department of Veterans’ Affairs card, are currently being invited to participate in the Program.
The Program will be expanded to include people turning 70 years of age from 2015.
The Program will be further expanded in 2017-18, when a phased implementation of biennial screening will commence. When fully implemented, all Australians aged between 50 and 74 years will be offered free screening consistent with the recommendations of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).
Temporary visa holders and temporary residents will not be invited to participate in the Program.
Eligible people will receive a pre-invitation letter followed by an invitation pack in the mail. The pack includes an invitation letter, information booklet and a free Faecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) kit. Those who choose to participate will complete the FOBT and a Participant Details form, and send these to the program pathology laboratory for analysis.
Participants with a positive FOBT result will be advised to see their general practitioner to discuss the results.
Program Coordinators in each state and territory ensure all participants with a positive FOBT result receive appropriate follow up.
We work with the Department of Health and Ageing to implement the Program. Our role in the Program is to assist in the administration aspects including maintenance of the register, collection of information about participation in the Program and collection of test results.
- send pre-invitation letters and invitation packs to eligible people
- send reminder letters to invitees who have not participated within a specified time
- record participants’ details, including screening history, FOBT and colonoscopy results which follow as a result of a positive FOBT
- provide confirmation of contact details to the pathology laboratory responsible for analysing the participant’s FOBT sample
- send reminder letters or make telephone calls (where necessary) to participants with a positive FOBT result to urge them to see their doctor for follow up tests
- send reminder letters or make telephone calls (where necessary) to participants’ nominated doctors or medical practices
- provide participants’ screening and detection history to nominated doctors, Program Coordinators, and employees in the bowel cancer screening area of state/territory governments to assist with participants’ medical care, and
- check the participant’s Medicare claims data to determine if a claim for a bowel procedure has been submitted. If a claim has been made, the Register will write to the medical service provider seeking the results.
- encourage those who are sent an invitation kit to participate in the program
- assess patients with a positive FOBT result and refer them for further tests, for example, a colonoscopy
- indicate on the patient’s referral for colonoscopy if they are participants in the Program. If preferred, Program stickers can be obtained by calling 1800 118 868*
- notify the Register of referral/non-referral for colonoscopy or other bowel examination for participants with a positive FOBT result, by completing and returning a GP Assessment Report available on Health Professional Online Services (HPOS), on the Cancer Screening website or in hardcopy by calling 1800 118 868*
- submit the form:
- manage individuals indentified as being at increased risk of bowel cancer in accordance with the NHMRC Guidelines.
- inform individuals at average risk that the NHMRC Guidelines recommend screening with a FOBT at least once every two years from the age of 50.
- provide follow-up diagnostic procedures associated with referrals from general practitioners
- manage individuals identified as being at high risk of bowel cancer in accordance with the NHMRC Guidelines, and
- notify the Register about participants who have procedures as a result of a positive FOBT, by completing and submitting a:
- Procedure Report—Adverse Events form
- Colonoscopy Report
- Colonoscopy and Histopathology Report, or
- Histopathology report.
These forms are available from the Cancer Screening website or in hardcopy by calling 1800 118 868*
Forms can be submitted:
- online via the Cancer Screening website
- by free fax to 1800 115 062, or
- by mailing to the
Reply Paid 83061
Hobart TAS 7001.
Personal information and test results will be kept private and confidential, as protected by law (the Privacy Act 1988). Personal details will only be released in accordance with the Information Privacy Principles of the Act.
Medical practitioners, specialists and pathologists will receive a payment for providing information to the Program Register about consultations and medical procedures for Program participants who have received positive FOBT results.
Standard Medicare attendance items apply to consultations with Program participants.
An information payment will be paid for each correctly completed Program Information form that provides information to the Program Register about participants who have received a positive FOBT result.
To receive the payments you must:
- complete all sections of the appropriate Program Information form
- complete a Payment Account Details for Service Provider form
- advise Medicare of your ABN by completing the Notification of ABN and Medicare Australia reference IDs for tax treatment purposes form [PDF, 100Kb], and
- enter into a Recipient Created Tax Invoice (RCTI) Agreement.
You can submit these forms by:
- free fax to 1800 115 062, or
- mail to the
Reply Paid 83061
Hobart TAS 7001.
Monthly payments will be paid to your nominated bank account on the ninth day (or next working day) for correctly completed forms lodged the previous month. Monthly statements will be provided for reconciliation and taxation purposes.
Payments are subject to GST.
National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.
- Cancer Screening website
For more information about the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program Register and additional Program materials, you can call the:
National Bowel Cancer Screening Program Register.
- Phone: 1800 118 868*
Correct procedures for completion of FOBT kits.
- Phone: Dorevitch Pathology FOBT helpline on 1800 738 365*
The Cancer Council Helpline
- Phone: 13 11 20*
Translating and Interpreting Service
- Phone: 13 14 50*
* call charges apply from mobiles or pay phones only
** call charges apply
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Last updated: 8 July, 2013