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GPs Say Need is for Proper, Adequate Funding

Need is for proper, adequate funding

The College of GPs has expressed concern, but little surprise at the major findings of the New Zealand Cervical Cancer Screening Audit.

The findings reflect the need for an adequately-funded public health system with proper infrastructure and capacity, the College believes.

“The screening programme needs to be clear about the roles, the responsibilities and the resources required to reduce these major problems,” College president Dr Jim Vause said, detailing the questions of who was responsible for recalls, and accessibility to the programme

“We need to look very carefully at how to lift the screening rates for Maori women, those on low incomes and the elderly,” he said. The report also questioned the collection of ethnicity data, emphasising the need for cultural competence as a core part of general practice as they sought the relevant data.

“There are some quite simple answers here,” Dr Vause said, “as always they revolve around adequate funding.”

At present GPs in some areas must fill out a special form for the screening, while all the required data is already included on the practice’s own management system.

“It’s an IT problem, matching up the various systems and getting them talking to each other.”

Dr Vause said this would overcome much of the lack of ethnicity data, and proper integration would sort out some of the recall and access programmes.

“This data, of course, gives something of an historical view (2000-2002), and the PHO environment should already be making a difference in the figures.

“That women have to pay even a minor fee is also a significant barrier to screening,” he said.

“That’s where adequate funding would help.”

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