The Government in New Zealand has announced that it is about to begin a pilot screening program for bowel cancer. On the other hand, Louise Richardson, that her family has history of suffering of bowel cancer, is questioning the ability of the healthcare system in New Zealand to adopt the screening program for the disease, considering her own difficulties which took place while she was tested.
The Government has announced that it was going to pay the public health system, including private health providers, to start a limited-screening program, as an initial trial before starting a national screening program for bowel cancer which is expected to begin in 2015; the disease is accounted for the death of more than 1200 people annually. Miss Richardson noted that five people in her family suffered bowel cancer, including a 44-year-old Auckland journalist who has died from the disease, three grandparents, in addition to an uncle on her mother's side and an aunt on her father's side. Moreover, several years ago, her brother was detected with bowel cancer when he was 37 years old. He had to undergo surgery and chemotherapy, but he is doing well now and is proceeding with regular follow-up checks managed by the public health system.
Knowing her family history of bowel cancer, Miss Richardson underwent two colonoscopies, including internal investigation for the disease and its precursor lesions, both procedures showed that she was cancer-free. The last colonoscopy took place three years ago. Miss Richardson mentioned that she has shared the cost of each procedure, nearly $1500, with her health insuring company. She also paid an excess fee of $500 by herself, but now she said that she wants to have another check-up in the public system. She said "In the interests of saving public money in future, I'd have thought early detection for a person in my position would be a priority."
Auckland DHB announced that that all patients, suspected to have bowel cancer, and sent to perform colonoscopy were checked up within six months. Moreover, in cases that requested urgent examination, such patients were seen within a week and the next highest priority group of patients was seen within six to 12 weeks. Health Minister, Tony Ryall, mentioned while announcing that the government is going to pay $24 million to the public health system, that "A significant constraint is the workforce to deal with expected future demand of colonoscopies." There are expectations that the national screening program for bowel cancer would reduce deaths from the disease by 36%.