Bowel screen depends on the weather

“We found that there were some heat stability issues with the buffer serum in the testing,” department official Nathan Smyth told the Community Affairs Legislation Committee.

“We now look at Bureau of Meteorology data and send kits out in the cooler periods of the year.”

Thousands of people were invited to re-test in 2009 after the buffer in their supplied kits became unstable in the hot summer months, returning unreliable results.

The program, which received an additional $50 million in last year’s Budget, is moving towards a five-yearly screening interval but may face a “capacity issue”, Mr Smyth said, with 1.5 million kits needed. About four millions kits would be required once the program is offering biennial screening.