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Political Prostate Inquiry is Daft and Dangerous

18 June 2009

Political Prostate Inquiry is Daft and Dangerous

The Health Select Committee’s prostate cancer inquiry, announced today, is potentially dangerous political interference and a waste of the Committee’s time said Green Party MP Kevin Hague, who is a member of the Committee.

“When politicians start making complex medical decisions it’s dangerous and a recipe for disaster,” said Kevin Hague, Green Party Health and Wellbeing spokesperson.

“The Government seems hell-bent on having this inquiry, and has chosen to do so before even the finalising terms of reference. This suggests an intent to reach conclusions based on what will be popular, rather than based on evidence. This is not the best way to develop health policy.

“The Ministry of Health has already commissioned a new literature review of prostate cancer screening, which will be available in November, and it seems completely daft for the Select Committee to effectively duplicate this expert review.

“This is a hotly debated issue which requires perspectives from different expert groups, including specialist disciplines of cancer screening programmes, epidemiology, urology, pathology, oncology, general practice, and health economics, as well as men’s perspectives.

“Balancing these perspectives requires clinical judgment and skill, and is not an appropriate function for the Select Committee, which after all is a political forum.”

Note: Kevin Hague has had a long term interest in men’s health issues and the prevention of prostate cancer. He previously chaired the NZ Public Health Advisory Committee, and represented all DHBs on the National Screening Advisory Committee.

For more information:

National Health Committee report on prostate cancer from 2004 - http://www.nhc.health.govt.nz/moh.nsf/indexcm/nhc-prostate-cancer-screening?Open

Population Screening for Prostate Cancer - A Systematic Review
http://www.nzgg.org.nz/guidelines/0041/Population_Screening_for_Prostate_Cancer___A_systematic_review.pdf

ENDS

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