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New Appointments for NZ Screening Programme

New Appointments for New Zealand Screening Programmes

Director of Public Health Dr Colin Tukuitonga today announced the appointment of three new public health and clinical experts to the National Screening Unit.

Dr Ashley Bloomfield has been appointed to the position of Public Health Leader for Screening Programmes. Dr Hazel Lewis has been appointed to the position of Clinical Leader for the National Cervical Screening Programme while Dr Madeleine Wall has been appointed Clinical Leader for BreastScreen Aotearoa. All three roles are newly established positions.

"Within his new role Dr Bloomfield will be responsible for delivering public health medicine leadership for both current and future screening programmes and maintaining links overseas in order to identify international developments in screening," Dr Tukuitonga said.

"Dr Bloomfield, who is currently Manager of the National Health Committee, brings strong public health leadership experience to the role, which will enable him to lead the strategic development of screening both within the Ministry and across the health sector. He will also be providing health screening advice to Government and those in the wider sector," he said.

"The two clinical leadership roles will be responsible for providing clinical oversight and leadership for the programme teams within the NSU. The roles will be responsible for the development of broad national policy and quality improvement processes for the respective programmes. They will also lead the development and maintenance of competency and expertise in screening across the sector and liase with programme service providers and professional groups."

NSU Group Manager Karen Mitchell also welcomed the announcements calling the appointments an important step forward in the development of screening in New Zealand.

"The establishment of the three roles effectively completes the design of the National Screening Unit. The Unit was established at the beginning of last year and now has a team of thirty-three people responsible for the management and coordination of the two national screening programmes," she said.

"The two clinical leaders will have a more 'hands-on' focus, working alongside the Managers of the two programmes. In developing the two positions we took into account the advice of Dr Euphemia McGoogan, Scottish cytopathgologist and adviser to the Minister of Health, who supported their establishment," Ms Mitchell said.

Dr Bloomfield and Dr Lewis will take up their new positions in early October while Dr Wall will join the team later in the year.

Biographical details

Dr Ashley Bloomfield is a public health physician with hospital and general practice clinical experience and has been the Manager of the National Health Committee since March 2000. He has also worked in academic, public health provider and health care funding organisations. Between 1999 and 2000 he was Executive Director of the New Zealand Guidelines Group, which is responsible for the development of evidence-based practice guidelines for the health sector.

Dr Hazel Lewis is a public health physician with over twenty years experience. She has a special interest in women's health, in particular sexual and reproductive health, and has worked in both the provider and policy areas. She currently holds the position of National Advisor, Public Health for the New Zealand Family Planning Association and continues to hold regular family planning clinics.

Dr Madeleine Wall is of Te Rarawa, Te Aupouri and Ngati Maru descent. She has been Clinical Director for BreastScreen Central since the start of the programme in December 1998. She graduated in medicine from the University of Otago and is a trained radiologist. She served on the Breast Cancer Screening Policy Advisory Group in 1996/97, which advised the Government on policy and quality standards for BreastScreen Aotearoa.

Background Information - How the National Screening Programmes are managed in New Zealand

The National Screening Unit (NSU) is an autonomous unit within the Ministry of Health responsible for the management and coordination of the two national cancer screening programmes ? the National Cervical Screening Programme (NCSP) and BreastScreen Aotearoa (BSA).

Group Manager, Karen Mitchell, leads the Unit. Her team comprises Managers for each of the two screening programmes and people responsible for other key areas such as Maori screening development. The two new clinical leadership roles ? one for each programme ? will carry out much of the work previously undertaken by former NSU Clinical Director Dr Julia Peters.

The newly established position of Public Health Leader, Screening Programmes will have a more strategic focus. It will be responsible for delivering public health medicine leadership for both current and future screening programmes and maintaining links overseas in order to identify international developments in screening. Dr Bloomfield will be working closely with senior managers and clinical staff within the Unit. This role will take over the strategic public health medicine component of the previous NSU Clinical Director role.

The NSU was established at the start of last year with a staff of nine. During the past 18 months it has grown to thirty-three staff. Once the Clinical Leaders have been appointed, the number of medical and public health specialists in the Unit will increase to six.

Over the past three years there have been significant improvements made to the National Cervical Screening Programme (NCSP), which have in turn been acknowledged in the Gisborne Ministerial Inquiry Report, released in April 2001, and subsequent programme reviews.

The Director of Public Health, Dr Colin Tukuitonga, has overall responsibility for the Audit of Invasive Cervical Cancers. This key project was recommended in the Inquiry Report and will, when completed, provide a better picture of the effectiveness of the National Cervical Screening Programme (NCSP).

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