Women in Otago and Southland migh receive a better quality
breast-screening service by a different provider than the
present health board service, which is ''limping along'',
Federation of Women's Health Councils co-convener Barbara
Ms Robson, of Feilding, who is also a MidCentral District
Health Board member, said women needed to be engaged and
informed about next year's service change.
Southern District Health Board is opting out of
breast-screening because of a shortage of radiologists.
''The Federation of Women's Health Councils has been aware
that BreastScreen Healthcare has been limping along for quite
some time, so is not unduly surprised SDHB has decided to
exit the provision of the service.
''SDHB's decision to exit the service is not necessarily bad
news. In fact, Otago-Southland women could end up with a
better service, if the right provider comes along.
''The new provider will need to demonstrate a good
understanding of the distances that some women in the region
are required to travel to access services,'' Ms Robson said.
A request for the BreastScreen Aotearoa tender was released
to the Government's electronic tenders service website on
Monday. Tenders close on November 22. The contract would be
awarded early next year, followed by a five-month transition
period, before the new provider took full control on August
Otago and Southland has 47,555 women aged between 45 and 69
eligible for the free two-yearly screening, with at least 70%
expected to take part.
The provider must have a strong relationship with the health
board, to which women diagnosed with cancer would be referred
for treatment, the document said.
Pacific Radiology Group Ltd, which provides screening for the
rest of the South Island, owns Otago Radiology, and is
expected to submit a tender.
Otago Radiology general manager Paul Morrison indicated the
company would consider tendering, but he could not comment
further when contacted yesterday. In the North Island, health
boards have mostly retained provision of breast-screening.