The Mid North Coast Local Health District (MNCLHD) has begun a pilot program in Coffs Harbour for people who may have bowel cancer.
The Direct Access Colonoscopy (DAC) program triages and prioritises patients who have returned positive faecal occult blood tests.
Referrals to the program are either through GP assessment or via a person’s participation in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.
MNCLHD program manager Linda Kay says colorectal cancer is one of the most common causes of cancer-related death in Australia.
“Bowel cancer is very preventable,” says Ms Kay. “Bowel cancers that are detected early by screening have very good treatment outcomes.
“People who have pre-cancerous polyps or people who are at the early stage of bowel cancer may not have any symptoms. Early detection and removal of pre-cancerous polyps through bowel screening is therefore very important for all people aged 50-74 years who have no symptoms.”
The DAC pilot program began last month and runs until January 2021. It will be reviewed and, if successful, will be extended to the Port Macquarie area.
The program is currently open to patients living in and around Coffs Harbour. This includes those who would normally attend Coffs Harbour Base Hospital, Macksville District Hospital or the Bellingen River District Hospital. A nurse will assess patients at a pre-admission clinic to ensure program eligibility.
To access the referral form and instructions, visit the Colonoscopy HealthPathway.
Referrals can be made on the electronic ‘Request For Admission’ form available for Best Practice and Medical Director software, or on a fillable PDF.
To find out more about the DAC pilot program, contact Leading Better Value Care Program Manager Linda Kay: [email protected]