Posts Tagged ‘Health Minister Tony Ryall’

Publicly funded chemotherapy clinics in NZ have increased 25% in two years, to just over 57,000 outpatient sessions in public hospitals in the 2009/10 year, says Health Minister Tony Ryall. READ MORE>

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JUNE 27: PROSTABLOG NZ: Hopes held by the NZ prostate cancer community that the Government might fund a marketing campaign urging men to get checked took a blow this week.

Hopes were lifted the week before with an announcement the Health Select Committee will inquire into screening, but last Friday this news item appeared in Fairfax media outlets:

THE slashing of millions of dollars from health-promotion programmes targeting cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other long-term conditions will affect frontline services, Government critics warn.

According to Budget documents released by Treasury yesterday, $37 million of ‘‘savings’’ have been docked from 18 health-promotion services, including $2.3m from cancer control, $4.8m from the ‘‘let’s get checked’’ diabetes programme and $3m from the heart disease budget.

Health Minister Tony Ryall said very few of the savings affected any existing services and even in tough economic times, health funding had increased $750m.

Millions of dollars have been spent on extensive TV campaigns aimed at groups in society most at risk of not getting early detection of breast and cervical cancer, heart diseases, diabetes and smoking-related diseases.

These campaigns have focused on Maori and Pacific people, whose poor health statistics justify the special attention

The prostate cancer community has been pushing for a similar effort aimed at men – especially Maori men – but so far the Ministry of Health has said there is no proven benefit from a population-based screening programme.

The Ministry has provided guidelines to GPs, but stepped back from recommending PSA and/or digital examination tests as a matter of course for men with no symptoms of prostate cancer.

The select committee inquiry has already drawn fire, the latest coming from Otago epidemiologist Brian Cox, whose paper in the New Zealand Medical Journal earlier this month rubbished the idea of prostate screening.

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