New government initiative to improve access to cancer information

The Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition (BCAC) welcomes news of the government’s new national cancer information strategy which is set to improve access to cancer information nationwide. 

Minister of Health, Dr Jonathan Coleman, says, until now, information has been collected and stored by a range of health professionals making it challenging to get a comprehensive view of a patient. “While progress has been made in joining information across DHBs, until now there has been no national approach.”

Dr Coleman says the new strategy will benefit patients, clinicians and researchers and enable access to high quality and reliable cancer information.

BCAC Deputy Chair, Chris Walsh, says BCAC was pleased to be given the opportunity to contribute to the development of the strategy. “It’s heartening to see the strategy has been developed with a strong emphasis on a patient-centred approach. Good quality, timely and easily accessible information for patients and their family/whanau will help patients become more actively engaged in the decisions around their care and treatment.” 

The New Zealand Cancer Health Information Strategy provides a five-year framework for changes to the way cancer clinical data and patient information is collected and stored. The government hopes the strategy will ensure cancer information is consistent and reliable throughout the country.

Dr Coleman says the strategy will help support the Faster Cancer Treatment programme and is also linked to the NZ Cancer Plan which sets out activities that need to happen over the next three years to ensure patients receive better and faster care. “Delivering better cancer services is a priority for this government,” says Dr Coleman. 

BCAC’s Chris Walsh said BCAC was pleased the Ministry of Health would be driving the high level national plan and “better still that there are time frames and work streams identified to progress the plan.” The strategy was developed by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with cancer clinicians and patients and will be implemented gradually with an initial focus on improving cancer information around ethnicity and multi-disciplinary meetings. 

BCAC hope to continue to be involved as the Ministry sets up its strategic governance board and working groups. To see the new information strategy visit the MOH website:

6th August, 2015

Article Type: