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King announces new structure for cancer control

King announces new structure for cancer control

Health Minister Annette King is setting up an independent Cancer Control Council that will provide an annual report to Parliament on progress in implementing the Cancer Control Strategy.

Ms King made the announcement in Wellington today at the Fifth International Conference on Priorities in Health Care. The conference, the first held outside Europe, is being attended by 375 participants from 34 countries.

Ms King also told the conference the Ministry of Health is establishing a position of Principal Advisor Cancer Control to drive implementation of the strategy.

“The Minister of Health will appoint members of the council, whose key tasks will be to provide leadership in cancer control, to monitor and review implementation of the Cancer Control Strategy and to foster collaboration and co-ordination in cancer management,” Ms King said.

“Last year I launched the Cancer Control Strategy and announced members of the Cancer Control Taskforce charged with reducing the burden from cancer in this country. The taskforce, consisting of experts across the cancer sector and NGOs, including the Cancer Society, asked me to set up this council.

“We are working across so many areas, such as treatment, screening, workforce, smokefree environments and legislation, that it has become ever more essential to focus on our overall priority of reducing the cancer burden.

“The council will provide a sustainable focus on cancer control. It will be supported by a secretariat, of a size and skill mix that allows it to develop and deliver a work programme. The secretariat is likely to be comparable in size to the National Health Committee secretariat, to be employed by the Ministry of Health, and could include members on secondment from other agencies.”

Ms King says the Principal Advisor Cancer Control will report to the Minister of Health on cancer control issues, will attend council meetings to report on progress with implementation, and will help coordinate the work of the council, the Ministry and the wider sector.

“Collaboration will play a key role in fostering links between regional and national participants in cancer control activity. When the council is established shortly, one of its early tasks will be to set up a Cancer Control Collaborative, with the aim of identifying groups and activities around the country contributing to cancer control, and fostering collaboration between them,” she says.

Ms King says the taskforce’s action plan for implementing the Cancer Control Strategy will be completed by December 20.

Cancer accounts for 29 per cent of deaths in New Zealand. Some 16,000 New Zealanders develop cancer each year and around 7500 people die of cancer each year. Cancer incidence is expected to increase in the next 10 years, although mortality rates are expected to decline.

“We are doing quite well in some areas of cancer, but in others we need to do far better. This Government is absolutely determined to do just that, and the establishment of this council will ensure we are kept up to the mark.”

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