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Ministry’s Christmas rush fails cancer patients

Jackie Blue MP
National Party Associate Health Spokeswoman

9 December 2007

Ministry’s Christmas rush fails cancer patients

Cancer patients are being let down by Health Ministry officials, says National Party Associate Health spokeswoman Jackie Blue.

“Kiwi men concerned about their prostate cancer risk have every right to feel let down. Two years ago Labour promised prostate cancer guidelines were on the way. Since then it would appear absolutely nothing has happened.”

In front of parliament’s health select committee a top ranking Health Ministry official categorically promised they would complete prostate cancer guidelines by the end of the year.

“But I understand a planned December meeting with the Prostate Cancer Foundation to progress the guidelines was cancelled by the Ministry. It was called off virtually as people were about to step onto planes.”

Dr Blue, a former breast physician, says the low priority being given to prostate cancer mirrors the treatment given to a national cancer management database that has been in the pipeline for five years.

“In order to fob off questions about the database at an October national breast cancer conference, officials promised a December meeting to progress it.

“The promised meeting never got off the ground.

“Experts have universally condemned the current cancer data that is being collected as inadequate, out of date, and limited.

“Someone should remind Health Minister David Cunliffe that without a comprehensive cancer database there is no way to measure the success, or failure, of the government’s Cancer Control Strategy.

“All-in-all, cancer patients should feel let down. The Ministry’s pre-Christmas flurry of activity has turned out to be much ado about nothing.”

Ends

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