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More screening, more lives saved say Cancer Society

[8 August 2018]

The Cancer Society welcome the positive review of the National Bowel Screening Programme released today .

“The report confirming that bowel screening is the single most important intervention to reduce impact of bowel cancer in our community, thereby saving more lives- this is great news,” says Dr Chris Jackson, Oncologist and Cancer Society Medical Director.

The report supports the ongoing roll-out of the programme while at the same time making a number of recommendations to support its continued improvement.

“We have one of the highest rates of bowel cancer in the world and screening is crucial to addressing this.”

Once the National Bowel Screening Programme is fully implemented it is estimated that as many as 500-700 cancers each year will be detected early.

The Cancer Society say the report contains many positives and are delighted with the Government’s commitment to the roll–out of screening around the country.

A greater focus on equity of outcomes, including increased engagement with Māori and Pacific peoples, is welcomed by the Cancer Society.

“We know that Māori have worse outcomes for bowel cancer than non-Māori once diagnosed, and that high participation in screening for Māori is crucial. We strongly endorse the recommendation to strengthen the equity focus and Māori leadership within the programme, “says Chris Jackson.

“There’s been some teething problems for the programme but this report addresses these, making recommendations that the Government have accepted.

“We’re very pleased to see that workforce development is included in the recommendations. We have wonderful, hard-working clinicians in this country and they need to be supported in the work they do,” Mike Kernaghan, Cancer Society Chief Executive says.

Earlier this year thousands of people missed out on invitations to take part in bowel screening. The Cancer Society say that strengthening the project management, reviewing IT governance and developing a dedicated IT system is spot-on to make sure people don’t miss out again.

“By accepting the recommendations in the report the Ministry of Health is showing us that they are doing everything possible to avoid a repeat of the issues identified.

“The New Zealand public should feel much reassurance in this.”

“We look forward to the funding commitments to support colonoscopy workforce development, IT infrastructure, and equity focused leadership,” Dr Chris Jackson says.

“We would encourage all eligible kiwis to get screened in this world class programme.”

ends

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