Otago District Health Board has been asked to provide an urgent report to the Minister of Health about its colonoscopy services.
An informal survey of Otago GPs by South Link Health has found that some patients with bowel cancer symptoms were being denied colonoscopies.
The survey found that some patients who were denied colonoscopies, were later diagnosed with bowel cancer. Concerns were identified about 51 patients, some of whom died.
Health Minister Tony Ryall has requested an urgent report on the matter from the ODHB, but a spokesperson says he has yet to receive it.
The board has also ordered an independent investigation into the service which will be conducted by the Southern Cancer Network.