ABC celeb doctor picked for $4m cancer campaign
ABC broadcaster and celebrity doctor Norman Swan, who was once the resident health expert on reality TV show The Biggest Loser, is the new face of a bowel cancer screening campaign funded by the state government.
The Health Report host was paid "a nominal fee" to be the face of the Cancer Institute of NSW's $4m campaign launched this week.
A NSW Health spokeswoman said Mr Swan was chosen as he is a "health science communicator".
"Dr Swan is an established health science communicator and was chosen to present the campaign as a one-off engagement," the spokeswoman said.
The 68-year-old said he had a personal interest in bowel cancer.
"I feel very strongly about this issue. When I was a resident in Britain I worked with a colorectal surgeon … (and) my grandmother had bowel cancer and a couple of uncles," he told The Daily Telegraph.
The commentator has been criticised for his often alarmist coronavirus predictions. In March last year, Dr Swan said Australia was 14-20 days behind Italy in terms of the virus's spread. But while Italy has suffered over 90,000 fatalities, Australia's coronavirus death toll remains under 1000.
On the same day, Dr Swan predicted that the weekend of March 28-29 last year would see 7000 to 8000 cases diagnosed, with the "true number" being a total of 70,000-80,000 infected locally.
But as at March 26 last year, Australia reported a total of 3985 cases. Even by April 16, the total cases stood at 6468 - still lower than the broadcaster's predictions.
On January 2 in the aftermath of the Northern Beaches outbreak, Dr Swan predicted a "very prolonged" lockdown if NSW doesn't put in place "stronger measures" and that NSW was failing to learn from Victoria's mistake.
The outbreak was contained without citywide lockdowns.
Originally published as ABC celeb doctor picked for $4m cancer campaign