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Boost for cancer care funding in Canterbury

29 June 2005

Boost for cancer care funding in Canterbury

Funding for hospices and other initiatives in the cancer control strategy for people in the Canterbury region is being boosted by $1.1 million per annum in this year's budget.

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Prime Minister Helen Clark said today that funding for hospices and other initiatives in the cancer control strategy for people in the Canterbury region is being boosted by $1.1 million per annum in this year's budget.

During a visit to Ashburton today Helen Clark said that Canterbury District Health Board will receive an extra $660,041 for palliative care, and an extra $447,485 to buy new cancer drugs and widen access to already subsidised treatments.

The money is Canterbury DHB's share of nearly $6 million extra for hospices and $4 million extra for cancer drugs across the country.

Helen Clark says the Labour-led government is proud to support the hospice movement.

"Today's $5.9 million allocation ensures all hospices can get funding for all their essential services and for up to around two thirds of their total costs.

"National in government contributed only half of hospice operating costs. Returning to that level of funding would hit terminally ill people hard. Yet pressure would come on critical services like these to fund tax cuts if National were elected," Helen Clark said.

The funding is being distributed to DHBs on a population basis. It is part of $40 million extra a year - for the next four years - in new baseline funding for palliative care and other cancer control initiatives, under the Cancer Control Action Plan.

As well as the $5.9 million extra for hospices and $4 million extra for drugs, the Plan also includes new annual spending of $13.2 million to extend the age range for breast-screening and evaluation of colorectal screening policy; $6.4 million for primary prevention including activities in schools such as free fruit; $2.2 million to help people stop smoking; $3.2 million for research and development; and $1.1 million for workforce development.

Helen Clark says individual agencies such as the Ashburton Palliative Care facility now need to negotiate their level of top-up funding with the Canterbury DHB.

ENDS

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