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Bowel Screening Programme Far Too Little, Far Too Late

Barbara Stewart MP

Spokesperson for Health
26 MAY 2016

Budget 2016: Bowel Screening Programme Far Too Little, Far Too Late

The Health Minister, Jonathan Coleman, has not even taken his national bowel screening programme proposal to cabinet and yet has already underfunded it, leaving the health of New Zealanders still at risk, says New Zealand First.

“Information released to New Zealand First by the Ministry of Health shows that a national screening programme should cost $26 million annually to implement successfully. Yet today’s Budget announcement provides only $39 million over the next four years – this is a $15 million shortfall for the programme every year,” says Mrs Stewart.

“National screening is well overdue in New Zealand with 1200 Kiwis dying from this disease each year. But this funding shortfall will mean either most New Zealanders continue to miss out on screening, or the Minister has dumped responsibility of funding the programme onto already cash strapped DHBs.

“We have known for years that bowel screening not only saves lives, but is cost effective for the health care system. Minister Coleman needs to take responsibility for his portfolio and the health of New Zealanders and roll-out a fully funded national bowel screening programme rather than leaving Kiwis still at risk from this terrible disease,” says Mrs Stewart.

ENDS

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