“The bowel screening programme supports all our staff values,” said Paul Smart, Branch Manager. “It’s about living safely at work, and at home. It saves lives, it keeps our staff safe, and it’s simple, free and local.”
Bowel screening nurse, Fiona Cundy, said she felt privileged to be invited into the staff meeting to share information and answer questions about the screening programme. “We rolled out the programme in Wairarapa in August last year and have had more than 4800 participate,” she said. “While Wairarapa is doing the best in the country in terms of uptake, there are still 30% percent of the eligible population that haven’t taken up the invitation to screen.
“While we know that screening is not right for everyone, we really want to encourage participation for those who should do the test.”
Colleague Janeen Cross, Māori Health Coordinator agrees. “Māori areslower to take up the invitation to screen, and across the Wairarapa population our 60-65 year olds are also a little under-represented in the programme, at only 65% participating,” she said. “The older groups are above 70%.”
“When the test kits come in the mail, they are no good on top of the fridge waiting ‘for a good time’ to do it,” Fiona said. “The ideal time is right when you get it. Test kits have a six month expiry date so it’s really important to get on and do it.”
Fiona and Janeen are happy to meet with businesses and community groups to explain how the programme works. “Many employers have 60-65 year olds on their workforce, and if not, their staff have friends and family that are eligible. The more we can talk about bowel screening, the more comfortable people can be with it and the better the health outcomes for our people,” said Janeen.
“Fulton Hogan is behind the bowel screening programme 100%,” said Smart. “I challenge all other employers to support this health initiative and educate their staff on the benefits of screening.”