Improving cancer support services for patients

Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman

Minister of Health

5 May 2016

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says good progress is being made around the country to further improve cancer care and support services.

"Every year more than 20,000 New Zealanders are diagnosed with cancer and this number continues to increase as the population ages," says Dr Coleman.

"A cancer diagnosis can be a difficult time for many people and their families. Ensuring they have access to good psychological and social support can make a big difference.

“That’s why in 2014 the Government made $4.5 million available each year to fund additional psychologists and social workers to support people with cancer across the country.

“These improved services are another example of the Government's commitment to ensuring better, faster cancer care for all New Zealanders."

Six lead psychologists have been appointed at each of the six regional cancer centres. Recruitment for over 30 additional psychologists and social workers for DHBs across the country is almost complete.

The initiative is part of the Faster Cancer Treatment programme. A key focus of the programme is the new 62-day faster cancer treatment health target. By July this year, 85 per cent of patients are to receive their first cancer treatment within 62 days of being referred with a high suspicion of cancer. This will increase to 90 per cent by June 2017.

Dr Coleman spoke at the inaugural Cancer Psychological and Social Support National Forum in Wellington today.

Media contact: Angela Kenealy 021 220 0129


Last updated: Thursday, May 5, 2016

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