The new Health Minister, Jonathan Coleman, says the Government can not yet give a start date for national screening for bowel cancer.

Medical specialists and a bowel cancer lobby group have urged national screening as soon as possible, to save lives.

Dr Coleman said the Government still had to evaluate the results of a pilot screening programme at the Waitemata District Health Board.

“The early results of the Waitemata bowel screening trial pilot look really promising,” he said.

“But we don’t want to start rolling this out if it’s not properly researched and not properly resourced so that’s what officials are working on and we’re really keen to see progress on that.”

CAPTION: Jonathan Coleman says the early results of the pilot bowel screening programme are “really promising”. Photo: RNZ