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Medical Council to De-Register Breast Physicians

12th June 2006

Medical Council Set to De-Register All Breast Physicians

"The Medical Council of New Zealand has decided to de-register all Breast Physicians out of existance, though this decision is currently being appealed. It is understood this is because the numbers of Breast Physicians are not as many as envisaged five years on since registration.

This is a disgrace say Debbie and Tim Short of the Breast Cancer Action Trust who in 2003 took a 124,000 signature petition to Parliament on the Breast Screening age that resulted in the extension to 45 - 69 years in 2004.

The Medical Council of New Zealand registered Breast Physicians in 2001 as a Specialist Discipline. Breast Physicians are Medical Practitioners with specialised training in the diagnosis and management of benign and malignant breast disease and are recognised in Australia and the United Kingdom. BreastScreen Aotearoa acknowledges Breast Physicians are providing a legitimate service, but Breast Physicians seek their value to be recognised more fully to encourage more G.P.'s to specialise in this evolving field. The Ministry of Health has been very slow to give support to the Breast Physician role since they were registered in 2001, so they must now accept some responsibility for the current situation.

New Zealand is woefully deficient in Breast Care Specialists and the Breast Physician provides a very important role as part of the multi-disciplined Breast Team quite distinct from Radiologists. New Zealand has a Breast Cancer death rate 28% worse than Australia, so where's the logic in de-registering all the Specialist Breast Physicians - it is bizarre! Yet again another group of Doctors are going to say 'there's a place for us - it's called Australia'. This is a retrograde step by the Medical Council and if it happens, it would cost women's lives. However, women can express their concern on the Medical Council Website: www.mcnz.org.nz"

Debbie and Tim Short
Trustees
BREAST CANCER ACTION TRUST

ENDS

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