NZORD's submission on the Public Health Bill
Public Health Bill before Select Committee - NZORD’s submission - March 2008
The Public Health Bill is an important update of old legislation. A key change is greater recognition of non-communicable diseases and provision of public health initiatives to reduce their impact. However the opportunity to give specific recognition to rare diseases and their collective impact as a significant public health problem, has not been acted upon.
Nor is screening adequately addressed. The Bill is the perfect opportunity to build in better structures and responsibility for screening initiatives, but this challenge has not been taken up to any significant degree.
At the select committee hearing NZORD suggested to the Members of Parliament present that they should include formal recognition of the National Screening Unit in this legislation, with a mandate, responsibilities and reporting requirements on screening options for health gains in the population.
Strengthening governance of screening programmes and giving a lead to areas of less formal opportunistic screening in the population, are both justified by advances in technical capability and by community interests in the most rigorous oversight of safety, privacy and technical matters.