MEDIA RELEASE – With reference to the National Bowel Screening programme Te ORA says:
- We have considered the epidemiology as reported by researchers Ass-Prof Sue Crengle and Melissa Cragg and have been advocating for over a year for the lowering of the lower age range for Māori to from 60 to 50 on the basis that the Programme presently exacerbates inequity.
- Listed below are All expert parties who are in support of lowering the age range for Māori, including:
• Hei Ahuru Mowai,
• Cancer Control Agency Advisory Board,
• Bowel Cancer NZ,
• National Screening Advisory Committee,
• National BCS Network,
• the National BC Working Group,
• Te Tumu Whakarae and various DHBs
- The Ministry’s National Screening Unit itself have previously stated that a staged rollout is the appropriate approach (April 2019, MoH website).
- The Ministry of Health and the Cancer Control Agency Executive team are the only ones not to support change. They state struggling colonoscopy services. We reject that – there are services in private medicine that have not been utilised. We think
they must therefore simply be unwilling to endorse a programme of spending that has different ages ranges for different ethnicities.
- Summary: A Ministry of Health that has a screening programme that produces systematic inequity is clearly mired in institutional racism and the new Health Minister is either busy (with COVID-19) or overworked (with multiple Ministry commitments) because if he saw decent advice he would act quickly to support the obvious pathway forward.
Professor David Tipene-Leach
Te Ohu Rata o Aotearoa
Māori Medical Practitioners Association