Auckland District Health Board is the latest to join the National Bowel Screening Programme, enabling its eligible population of 65,000 people between 60 and 74 to access free life-saving screening tests.

For every 1000 people who complete a bowel screening test, about 50 will be positive, the Ministry of Health states.

Of those, about 35 will be found to have polyps and on average three or four will have bowel cancer.

Auckland DHB is the 14th district health board to join the programme.

The roll-out completion date was pushed out six months due to the Covid-19 response.

The move, announced on Monday, means 72 per cent of eligible New Zealanders can now access the programme – the roll-out of which is scheduled for completion by November 2021.