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Cancer Action Plan welcomed by senior doctors’ union

Establishing a Cancer Control Agency and providing more funding for cancer drugs are much-needed developments for improving the state of cancer care, says Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS).

Mr Powell was commenting on the announcement yesterday of the Government’s Cancer Action Plan for 2019-2029: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/115444349/government-announces-an-extra-60m-in-pharmac-funding-and-new-cancer-treatments

“We welcome the release of the 10-year Cancer Action Plan, which includes a necessary funding boost for Pharmac and setting up an agency within the Ministry of Health dedicated to overseeing cancer diagnosis and treatment in District Health Boards (DHBs),” says Mr Powell.

Mr Powell says one of the most pressing tasks facing the new agency is devising a workforce plan to address long-standing shortages.

“ASMS surveys indicate a nationwide 22% shortage of specialists in public hospitals. Long-term planning is the only way these entrenched shortages can be fixed,” Mr Powell says.

Specialist shortages affect oncologists, surgeons, and other specialties involved in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

“Fixing these severe shortages is the responsibility of DHB health bosses, but both the Health Minister and the new cancer agency will have to give them a firm message to face up to this responsibility.

“DHBs have been struggling to provide adequate cancer care, which has led to inconsistent access to services throughout the country.”

Mr Powell welcomed the appointment of respected public health physician and cancer epidemiologist Professor Diana Sarfati as interim National Director of Cancer Control.

© Scoop Media

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