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Cancer Society Pleased Government Making Health A Priority

The Health Minister today released the final report of the Health and Disability System Review, which makes a series of far-reaching recommendations.

The review signals a massive overhaul of the system and the Cancer Society say they are pleased to see Government prioritising and investing in population health.

“We know New Zealanders want national consistency of services in cancer care. We have been concerned at the variability across our current system, which we refer to as a ‘post code lottery’,” says Lucy Elwood, CE of the Cancer Society of New Zealand.

The Cancer Society supports the themes that are the focus of the report, particularly ensuring our people, whānau and communities are at the heart of the health system.

“We know people want cancer care close to home. And we support this review’s intentions as it should make it easier for patients to see their doctor and get the cancer care that they need.”

“Our current system doesn’t always deliver this so change is needed. More planning, more accountability and more funding are all part of this review and so these are positives.

“It’s important the Government’s Cancer Action Plan priorities and funding are not lost in the noise of reform.

“The Cancer Control Agency was formed to improve cancer outcomes but is not able to direct DHBs to provide certain services. This new structure, if implemented right, could improve accountability for cancer care and help implement policies we know will make a difference.

“We’re pleased to see that prevention and a desire to make sure the system serves everyone are a focus of the proposed health reforms.

The Cancer Society’s initial view is that the proposed Māori Health Authority needs some decision making ability within the system to ensure the health system will work more effectively for Māori.

The challenge will be making sure the new investment results in improved services and better outcomes through, for instance: delivering the required improvements in population health, digital systems, primary care and DHBs.

The Cancer Society would like to see a review of PHARMAC included in these reforms as New Zealand does not have the same access to medicines as other comparable countries.