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ABC 15.COM: Cancer accounted for nearly $1 trillion in economic loss worldwide due to premature death and disability, says the American Cancer Society. That’s 20 percent larger than the number two cause, heart disease. READ MORE>

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May 8: Prostablog NZ:  Prostate cancer and screening get no mention in the New Zealand government’s newly formulated special health targets.

Diabetes, immunisation, A & E waiting times, smoking, heart disease and elective surgery waiting lists dominate the new priorities announced in yesterday’s so-called Health Targets.

There is no reference to Health Minister Tony Ryall’s January 17 statement that he would be looking at the prostate cancer national screening issue.

He was quoted then by the Dominion Post as saying that bringing down prostate cancer rates was a priority for the Government, and signalled he could consider overhauling the current guidelines.

Here’s his May 7 statement:

Health Minister Tony Ryall today announced a slimmed down set of Health Targets aimed at simplifying requirements on District Health Boards and enabling DHBs to focus more tightly on front line services.

“This is part of the Government’s plan to reduce administrative monitoring and reporting requirements on DHBs by a third” says Mr Ryall.

“We’ve had far too many indicators and committees and targets for the last nine years.”

Tony Ryall says the revised Health Targets cover shorter waiting times for emergency department treatment, smoking, immunisation, diabetes and cardiovascular services, as well as reduced waiting times for critical cancer treatment and elective surgery.

“Six clearly focussed and realistic targets will make it easier for the public to measure DHB performance.” says Mr Ryall.

“The areas that are no longer part of the targets are covered in the many other priorities, objectives, indicators and performance measures.”

“We have inherited a system overburdened with 13 health priorities, 61 objectives, with an additional subset of 13 health objectives; a set of 10 health targets measured through 18 indicators; 25 other indicators of DHB performance; not to mention 4 hospital benchmark indicators assessed through 15 measures; and an outcomes framework with 9 outcomes, measured against 39 headline indicators” says Mr Ryall.

The Health Targets will be reviewed again next year.

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