More money for better, faster cancer services welcomed
The Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition applauds new funding in Budget 2012 for cancer nurse co-ordinators to help alleviate the stress faced by New Zealanders with cancer.
The Minister of Health, Tony Ryall, has announced an additional $33million over the next four years for better and faster cancer services. This includes funding for dedicated nurses to co-ordinate cancer patients’ individual care and support.
BCAC chairperson Libby Burgess says those with cancer will welcome the opportunity to deal with one person throughout their treatment programme.
“New Zealanders with cancer often deal with a shifting cast of health professionals and this can add to the stress and anxiety they are already struggling with as they go through treatment.
“Having one point of contact to co-ordinate a patient’s treatment and to provide emotional support is a valuable advance in medical practice and will come as a welcome relief to the thousands of kiwis enduring cancer now and in the future.”
The cancer nurse coordinator’s role includes:
• being a first point of contact for patients and their families
• acting an information and education resource for patients and their families
• coordinating patients’ care
• providing expert management and advice on common symptoms
• providing emotional support and guidance
• helping with a self-care plan after treatment.
Ms Burgess says BCAC also welcomes the Government’s increased focus on collecting data about cancer patients’ treatment programmes in a bid to reduce waiting times.
“BCAC knows that many women wait too long for breast cancer treatment, in particular surgery and chemotherapy. We’re pleased the Government is seeking to gather more information about patients’ treatment so that these worrying delays can be eliminated.”
Ms Burgess says Budget 2012 also provided a further $48million for elective surgery which she hopes will provide some benefit for women seeking breast reconstruction surgery after breast cancer treatment.