On Monday evening, the federal Minister for Health, Maggie De Block (Open Vld), announced the suspension of her controversial royal decree. The decree would revise the methods for reimbursement of mammograms, which was due to come into force on 1 April.
The minister indicated in a communiqué, “By means of this royal decree, we were wanting to increase both the quality and participation in screening. However, we have taken on board that there has been a wave of panic regarding the measure, and that women have been completely misinformed. Since a calm discussion is not possible in such an atmosphere, we are placing the measure on hold for now.”
Earlier in the day, the MR, which sits with the Open Vld in the federal government, had withdrawn from making a decision on the proposals, requesting that Minister De Block reconsider it.
The proposed royal decree in question anticipates, unless given exceptions apply, the abolition of the reimbursement of breast cancer screening for women under 45 and over 74. In addition, for women between 45 and 50, only one annual screening would be both recommended and reimbursed. For women between 50 and 74, the advised and reimbursed screening frequency would reduce to one every two years.