Bowel cancer screening
The weakening of the Waitemata DHB bowel cancer screening trial as it is rolled out nationally (Feb 15) is a strategy to minimise the amount the Government does in the face of one of the most serious health issues facing NZ.
By changing how they measure the problem, fewer cancers will be detected than should be, and so fewer will be treated expeditiously.
In this instance they have altered the indicator thresholds for bowel cancer screening, including changing them from 15 micrograms blood per gram under the trial to 40, whereas Australia has it set at 20.
This reduces the follow up colonoscopies required to fit budgets rather than to meet the genuine problem of how to deliver this vital health requirement.
If there is no plan for DHBs to radically enhance the delivery of colonoscopies, the cost will be borne by the many thousands of taxpayers who will continue to lose their lives to this treatable and survivable disease through the coming decades. Phil Pearson Wainoni