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Cancer Society Welcomes Biggest Investment In Health In 20 Years

The Government’s ‘Rebuilding Together’ budget could deliver the world-class cancer care New Zealanders deserve if carefully spent say the Cancer Society.

It urges DHBs to take the opportunity to be aspirational for people affected by cancer today and for those who may be affected by cancer in the future.

“New Zealanders want accurate and timely diagnosis, high quality care and wrap around support no matter who they are or where they live. This funding could deliver a transformative result if it’s used to re-design the system,” says Lucy Elwood, Cancer Society of New Zealand CEO.

The Cancer Society has observed innovation in the sector during the COVID-19 lockdown. They encourage DHBs to continue new ways of working to improve patient outcomes.

“We’ve seen some patient services moving online that have saved travel and time. We are working with some DHBs on trials using Cancer Society facilities to support consultations for those not able to manage the technology.”

“The $282.5m catch-up campaign for planned care and elective surgeries will be welcome news for cancer patients impacted by the COVID-19 lockdown.”

Another area that needs urgent investment is the National Travel Assistance scheme.

“The way it’s currently structured disadvantages many New Zealanders and places an unfair financial burden on those travelling to receive cancer treatment.”

“There needs to be clarity about what services DHBs should be providing to patients going through cancer especially in psychosocial service delivery.”

The Cancer Society also welcome the new funding announced for PHARMAC. However, it is unclear if this will have any impact on the availability of cancer medicines.

“The funding increase, with no change in operating rules for PHARMAC, signal a business-as-usual approach to medicine funding decisions,” says Dr Chris Jackson, Cancer Society Medical Director.

“There are stubborn and persisting problems in transparency, accountability, engagement with specialists, and timely decision making that are yet to be addressed with PHARMAC. We can’t see these addressed here and they need to be,” says Dr Jackson.

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