Community Affairs 23 February 2011
Senator SIEWERT—I realise that the question I wanted to ask I think I should be asking of the department, but I am just wondering where your level of involvement is at with the bowel cancer screening process.
Dr Zorbas—The screening program is obviously not part of our remit, but we are obviously watching the evidence and the activities in that area very closely.
Senator SIEWERT—Obviously we have to be asking government about continuation, but have you been involved in any way or looked at any of the evidence from the screening program?
Dr Zorbas—As I say, we keep a very close watching brief on the evidence around many aspects of cancer control, and obviously screening is one of them; in that context we do. We do not provide direct advice to the screening section on this at this point in time, but we do watch it with great interest and we have provided guidance to general practitioners in this area in relation to the screening program and the evidence.
Senator SIEWERT—This is probably because I do not understand fully where the boundaries are between what you do and what the department does, but has your advice been sought on the screening program, given that you are looking at the evidence? Has your advice been sought on the effectiveness of the screening program or do you have an opinion on the effectiveness of the screening program?
Dr Zorbas—I can only say that I have only been in the position since June. I have not had any involvement in the bowel cancer screening program in that time. I think as a cancer control agency we would obviously have a keen interest, but there is a specific section of the department that manages these activities and it is certainly in their remit to look at the evidence and to establish a position on that. I know there was a lot of work in this space before the establishment of the program, and the evidence is known.