Gippsland South The Nationals Health Danny O'Brien breastscreen cancer budget cuts

O’Brien: cuts to breast screening unacceptable

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien is encouraging Gippslanders to sign up to an online campaign to pressure the Andrews Labor Government to reverse its cuts to breast screening services in Victoria.

Mr O’Brien said there has been an alarming reduction in breast screenings in Victoria as a result of restrictions enforced throughout the coronavirus pandemic as well as a cut to Health Protection funding.

“Funding for women’s health through Health Protection funding, which supports programs such as screening for breast cancer, was cut in the 2019-20 State Budget prior to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr O’Brien said.

“This combined with the lockdowns saw 49,000 Victorian women who would ordinarily be scheduled for a breast screening unable to do so.”

At recent Public Accounts and Estimates hearings, government officials confirmed that funding had only been provided for an additional 20,000 breast screens this year.

Mr O’Brien said a shortfall of 29,000 was not acceptable.

“Early detection will put you in the best position for a positive outcome.

“I have always actively tried to encourage the people of Gippsland South who are in a high-risk category to get screened, so to have funding cut and people placed on lengthy waitlists is completely unacceptable.

“That shortfall represents 29,000 Victorians who may miss out on an early diagnosis and, as a result of that, miss out on their best chance for beating breast cancer.

“That is why I am calling on all Gippslanders to go online and sign up to save lives by calling on the Andrews Labor Government to reverse its cuts to breast screening services and women’s health.”

Gippslanders can visit WomensHealthVIC.com to lodge their support.

According to BreastScreen Victoria the biggest risk factor for breast cancer is being a woman over 50 years of age, with one in eight Victorian women diagnosed with the disease.

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