GP warns residents against Screen for Life test 'waste'

Dr Diane Blanckensee is not happy about Screen for Life testing.
Dr Diane Blanckensee is not happy about Screen for Life testing. Nolan Verheij-full

SOME Tweed seniors have been coughing up for over-the-top health screening and it's making one local doctor furious.

Dr Diane Blanckensee, one of the Tweed Health for Everyone superclinic directors, said 40 patients had paid hundreds for Screen For Life to conduct tests claiming to indicate a person's risk of heart attack or stroke.

"Essentially, half their tests can be conducted by a GP and the other half are done by a radiologist if necessary," Dr Blanckensee said.

She said some of the tests weren't scientific and when it came down to it, a patient's local GP knew their history and risks.

"It's not a validated test," she said.

Dr Blanckensee said there was no need for invasive screening of patients with no symptoms.

"If you're testing someone who's symptomatic, that's a different thing," she said.

"If you have symptoms, seek medical attention; don't wait."

Dr Blanckensee was concerned her patients - particularly those at low risk of heart attack or stroke - would be wasting their money on screening programs that weren't covered by Medicare or private health insurance.

A Screen For Life spokeswoman defended their services.

"Stroke is the third biggest cause of death in Australia and a leading cause of disability," she said.

"Screen for Life offers an effective early intervention service that makes no claim on taxpayer funds and has saved lives in this country."

The spokeswoman said Screen For Life did target people aged over 50.

"For most stroke victims, waiting for symptoms before testing is leaving it too late."

Topics:  gp superclinic tweed health for everyone

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