AP Chief Executive Officer, Ms Liesel Wett, said that Australian Pathology has had a productive working relationship with the Morrison Government and now looks forward to this continuing as demonstrated by the Government’s commitment to continuing health care reform with Minister Hunt.
The Federal Government needs to immediately commit to a major investment in pathology test screening for cystic fibrosis and to make such tests more available for all couples planning a family.
Australian Pathology, which represents 95 per cent of the industry’s private pathology organisations in Australia, said such screening was the missing link in the Morrison Coalition Government’s announcement yesterday, but would complement the announcement of funding for a cystic fibrosis centre in Sydney.
Cystic Fibrosis Australia says the inherited disorder has a birth prevalence in Australia of approximately one in 3700.
Approximately 1 in 25 Australians are carriers of a genetic mutation responsible for cystic fibrosis.
Australian Pathology Chief Executive Officer Liesel Wett said pathology screening for cystic fibrosis was essential.
“The announcement of a cystic fibrosis center was welcome but there is more that needs to be done and pathology screening is a critical element. Prevention seems to be missing in the Prime Minister’s announcement.
“The tests for three inherited conditions – Fragile X syndrome, Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) and Cystic Fibrosis – are non-invasive blood tests and regarded as worldwide best practice for women and their partners to be performed before pregnancy or early in pregnancy,” Ms Wett said.
“These diseases are responsible for significant morbidity and premature mortality both in infancy and adulthood and place an enormous financial burden on parents and the healthcare system.”
Ms Wett said pathology testing was essential to help identify carriers.
“With one in 25 people being a potential carrier of a single copy of the cystic fibrosis gene change it is important to be tested,” she said.
“Significantly, people who carry one copy of the cystic fibrosis gene change do not have any symptoms of the condition.
“Testing is necessary to identify carriers.
“If two people carry the cystic fibrosis gene change and they have a child, each pregnancy will have a one-in-four chance that the child will have cystic fibrosis.”
Ms Wett said the cystic fibrosis tests currently were not listed on the Medicare Benefits Schedule, despite the industry push for them to be listed.
“The listing of this test on the MBS is something we have been calling for, for many years. Without this, it means that only those couples that can afford to pay for this test are able to access it under the current situation, and those that cannot afford to, do not have the test,” she said.
“Funding for the test prior to pregnancy would seem like a no-brainer. The test is actually one that helps inform parents and investing in it makes good sense. “Australian Pathology calls on the Morrison
CEO, Australian Pathology
Commitments by Labor to ease the burden on cancer patients by investing $200 million in pathology tests for older Australians and Australians with cancer if it wins Government at the next election have been welcomed by Australian Pathology, the national peak body representing private pathology in Australia.
Australian Pathology Chief Executive Officer, Liesel Wett, said the announcement that Labor would invest some $2.3 billion to cut out-of-pocket costs for cancer patients which includes the investment to protect bulk billing for pathology tests would be a great relief for patients during a very difficult and vulnerable time.
“This sort of approach to cancer treatment is long overdue and is something that patients have been seeking for a long time,” Ms Wett said.
“Building on Labor’s initiative through an investment in pathology services which are pivotal to the diagnosis of this disease is the missing link in cancer services.
“In fact, 100 per cent of all cancers are diagnosed by a pathologist in a pathology laboratory so investment in this sector would serve to reinforce and build on Labor’s announced commitment.
“It would provide further benefit for patients and complete the circle on investment in cancer health services.
“Australian Pathology welcomes this investment in pathology services because, after all, pathology is diagnosing the cancer in patients.”
Ms Wett stressed that in order to maintain bulk billing for older Australians and cancer patients that an investment such as this into pathology services would ensure patients continued to get their pathology tests for free.
“Sometimes pathology is the forgotten area in the health sector,” Ms Wett said.
“But if a patient has ever had a blood test, swab or biopsy, they’ve used the services of a pathologist.
“Pathology services are essential in the healthcare system, with 70 per cent of medical decisions and 100 per cent of cancer diagnoses relying on pathology tests.
“These services are essential in the management of most diseases, especially chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, hepatitis and HIV.
“Our members, who represent 95 per cent of the industry’s pathology services in Australia, are committed to the provision of high quality, affordable, safe and accessible pathology service to all Australians.
“Australian Pathology looks forward to working with all political parties to increase investment in Pathology tests to benefit all Australians.”
CEO, Australian Pathology
0414 434 581
Australian Pathology is the peak body representing private pathology in Au