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Don't be conned into thinking Screen for Life is backed by Medicare or the AMA

Friday 25 July 2014

AMA Victoria issues a public reminder that Screen for Life is not endorsed by Medicare or the AMA and people should discuss their health concerns with a GP.

Screen for Life is an international company which directly mails health pamphlets to 50-80 year olds, encouraging them to participate in their health screening checks that are undertaken at community venues.

The public must be aware that:

  • Screen for Life’s tests cost up to $200 and are not covered by Medicare.
  •  AMA Victoria does not support Screen for Life.
  •  AMA Victoria views many of Screen for Life’s tests to be often unnecessary.
  •  While Screen for Life operates out of RSLs, Surf Life Saving and community clubs – the company is not endorsed by local councils or the government.

“AMA Victoria does not support Screen for Life and we view these health checks to be unnecessary. Health checks and medical procedures should be undertaken on a needs-for basis, AMA Victoria President, Dr Tony Bartone, said today.

“Lifestyle, age, gender, general health, medical history and genetics / family history are far better indicators to determine which health checks are needed, and how often, than the broad spectrum that comes with these checks that target 50-80 year olds.

“If people are concerned about their health, then they should see their GP to discuss the range of possible health tests that may be suited to their needs: blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose tests; weight and abdominal circumferences measurements; pap and breast exams; prostate and rectal exams; skin and mole checks; we can talk about eye sight and hearing; we can discuss fertility and sexual health. Tests are dependent on the person.

“Australians are already affronted with high out-of-pocket medical costs. Screen for Life’s $200 does not need to be another one. We encourage everyone to see a GP, and to see one regularly, Dr Bartone said.

Consumers Affairs Victoria has issued the following statement in response to the AMA’s concerns about Screen for Life: “Screening for the risk of stroke if you don’t have symptoms is not a medically proven way to prevent stroke.

“Unnecessary medical tests can hurt your hip pocket and make you worry for no reason. Talk to your doctor about your health concerns and ask about suitable tests if you have symptoms. Be wary if someone makes an appointment for you, when you have not arranged a test with your doctor. Businesses must not make misleading or unsubstantiated claims about the goods or services they provide, Phil D'Adamo, Acting Director, Consumer Affairs Victoria.

Media contact: Felicity Ryan 0437 450 506 or felicityr@amavic.com.au

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