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From Policy To Action On Cancer

Media Release
29 September 2003

From Policy To Action On Cancer

The appointment of an 11-member Cancer Control Taskforce was announced this evening by the Minister of Health, the Hon Annette King at the opening of a national cancer control workshop in Wellington.

Chair of the Taskforce will be Associate Professor Chris Atkinson, a radiation and medical oncologist (Chair, Oncology, Haematology and Palliative Care, Canterbury DHB), who is also Deputy Chair of the New Zealand Cancer Control Trust.

Membership of the Taskforce continues to reflect the Government/non-government partnership undertaken to develop the New Zealand Cancer Control Strategy, says Cancer Control Trust Chairman, Dr Brian Cox.

Among the Taskforce’s key roles are developing an implementation plan for the recently released New Zealand Cancer Control Strategy; identifying the government and non-government organisations involved in implementing specific action; and, defining what is required to manage, monitor and review implementation of the Strategy.

Nearly 200 people involved in cancer care and cancer prevention are attending this week’s workshop, which is the first step in identifying key issues for implementation of the strategy.

“Using the New Zealand Cancer Control Strategy as a basis of discussion, participants will have an opportunity to address specific questions and provide feedback to the newly formed Taskforce,” Dr Cox says. “They will be able to offer their expert opinions at the beginning of the Taskforce’s role, to identify what is needed to ensure effective and ongoing implementation of the Cancer Control Strategy.”

Dr Cox says a Strategy of itself will not diminish cancer, but by providing aims, principles, goals and objectives it can form the basis on which an implementation plan can be developed.

“A very important function of the workshop therefore will be identification of priority actions supported by evidence of effectiveness that should form part of the implementation plan that the Taskforce will subsequently develop.”

Because cancer is a complex group of over 100 diseases with different causes and a variety of treatments, there are many providers of services that aim to prevent, detect and treat cancer and provide rehabilitation, support and palliative care.

“The workshop will engage the various stakeholders in the developing national cancer control programme. Partnership is an essential element in a quality cancer control programme, along with leadership, systematic decision-making, leadership and continuous improvement and innovation,” Dr Cox says.

So, he says, the cancer control strategy should not be seen as an end but as a beginning of improvements in meeting the relentless challenge of cancer in New Zealand.

“The Workshop begins the process of developing an implementation plan and identifying a suitable mechanism to ensure momentum of the cancer control programme is maintained for sufficient time to demonstrate success and through future restructuring of the health system.”


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