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The facts: Screening programmes on back-burner

Annette KING

Health Spokesperson

7 April 2013                                                    

MEDIA STATEMENT

The facts: Screening programmes on back-burner

Delays to cancer monitoring and re-prioritising of screening programmes have all the hallmarks of another unfortunate experiment, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.

“Health Minister Tony Ryall  and his offsider Jo Goodhew have spent the last week trumpeting  the ‘fact’ they are ‘committed’ to improving screening, diagnostic and cancer treatment for Kiwis and that more women are taking part in early detection programmes.

“But when at least six projects, aimed at monitoring and screening for cervical screening have been put on the back-burner, it is difficult to see how their ‘better, sooner, more convenient’ mantra might apply.

“Surely the ministers haven’t forgotten the Cartwright inquiry or the fallout in Gisborne following botched monitoring processes. That is why Labour expanded and strengthened the National Screening Unit.

“Yet we now have the Ministry of Health reporting (attached) it doesn’t have the staff to carry out basic monitoring, evaluation and data collection work as part of the cervical screening programme.

“In his drive to save money Mr Ryall is using job vacancies to cut costs. That is not good news, as he would have the country believe, but an uncomfortable truth he is trying to hide.

“We cannot let years of work since the Gisborne inquiry go to waste. If we haven’t learned from that, then there is every likelihood history will repeat.

“The focus for Mr Ryall should be on quality health care and on ensuring the staff and services are in place to carry out programmes implemented for very, very good reason.”

ENDS

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