The Cancer Society of New Zealand is supportive of the proposed changes to the Health and Disability System, announced by Minister of Health Andrew Little today.
Chief Executive Lucy Elwood says the Cancer Society has been pushing for improved national planning, consistency and delivery of cancer services over many years.
Elwood says the new national Health agency needs to make sure it improves cancer care and reduces the incidence of cancer.
“With the establishment of Te Aho o Te Kahu, the Cancer Control Agency, we have seen benefits of better national coordination of cancer care, highlighted during the Covid response. The proposed structures need to ensure these benefits are sustained and embedded in the system.”
"Organisations like the Cancer Society provide transport, accommodation and support care for people affected by cancer and their whānau. It’s essential that services like ours are integrated into the health system."
The Cancer Society believes the recommended formation of a Māori Health Authority with Commissiong power is appropriate.
“Māori are twice as likely to die from cancer as non-Māori. Ensuring the Authority has Commissioning powers allows better informed funding of services that will work for Māori. However, it is also important to note that all health services need to ensure they are responsive to Māori,” says Lucy Elwood.
The Cancer Society shares Little's concerns about the postcode lottery of care that currently exists across Aotearoa/New Zealand. An already overwhelmed health system needs to be prepared for the future.
"In our daily work supporting people and their whānau affected by cancer, we hear stories from people in some parts of the country who are waiting too long to access cancer specialists. New Zealanders should have the same access to quality services and support, regardless of who they are or where they live."
"We have to meet the growing demand for cancer services because cancer diagnoses are estimated to increase by another 50% in the next 15 years.”
"New Zealanders deserve a world-class health system and we will engage in the consultation process to improve the system and get better health outcomes for people affected by cancer and their whānau," concludes Lucy Elwood.
Medical Director Dr Chris Jackson and Advocacy and Research Manager Shayne Nahu are available for comments. To schedule an interview, please contact:
Communications Advisor Cancer Society of New Zealand
021 757 603
About the Cancer Society of New Zealand
The Cancer Society of New Zealand is the country's leading organisation dedicated to reducing the incidence of cancer and ensuring the best cancer care for New Zealanders. We are committed to working with communities and decision makers by providing leadership and advocacy in cancer control, with core services in information and support, research and health promotion.