Mireille Broeders, professor of Personalized Cancer Screening, has been appointed as a member of the permanent Committee on Population Screening of the Dutch Health Council (Gezondheidsraad).
The Health Council is an independent advisory board to the Ministry of Health, and can give solicited and unsolicited advice to Parliament on health care issues. The task of the Committee on Population Screening is threefold: to identify developments in population screening, provide advice on population screening, and assess permit applications in connection with the Population Screening Act.
Considerable attention is given to the early detection of diseases and research into risk factors. Scientific developments are occurring at a rapid rate. This has consequences for existing screening programmes and can provide opportunities for new ones. The Health Council of the Netherlands monitors these developments and their potential consequences (in the nature of the advisory report Screening: between hope and hype) and reports on them. Activities in this context can range from monitoring developments in the area of screening tests to reporting on ethical issues.
Advice on population screening
The responsible minister of Health, Welfare and Sports asks the Health Council for advice before considering a new population screening or changes to existing population screening. The permanent Committee Population Screening deals with these scientific advice questions.
Assessing permit applications
The Health Council of the Netherlands has a statutory duty to assess permit applications in connection with the Population Screening Act. The Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport decides on such applications. The Population Screening Act provides for a permit system for population screening involving the use of ionising radiation, concerning cancer or concerning serious diseases or abnormalities for which no treatment is possible. Permit applications can concern a national population screening program or changes therein, or scientific research in a population screening that may or may not be nationally implemented.
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