Cancer nurse coordinators improving care

Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman

Minister of Health

9 December 2016

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says cancer nurse coordinators are helping to improve the diagnosis and treatment process for over 1,000 patients a month.

“Being diagnosed with cancer or waiting for a diagnosis can be an extremely traumatic time for patients and their families,” says Dr Coleman.

“Cancer nurse coordinators are highly experienced nurses with expertise in navigating the system and helping patients access other support services.

“The cancer nurse coordinator initiative is a key part of the $33 million package to improve cancer care in Budget 2012. All DHBs now have at least one full-time coordinator. In total there’s around 70 across the country.

“An independent review has confirmed that cancer nurse coordinators are improving the diagnosis and treatment process for patients, creating a more positive and less stressful experience.

“It also shows that patients and their families’ value having easy access to an expert who understands what they’re going through, is able to explain clinical information, and is knowledgeable about next steps in their care.

“Providers were also appreciative of the improved coordination of care.”

In just six months during 2015, around 6,000 patients had contact with a cancer nurse coordinator.

The review, which was carried out by Litmus, highlights a need for better promotion of the role of cancer nurse coordinators among primary care, and within Maori and Pacific communities.

It also highlighted the opportunity to link patients to other services, especially financial and emotional support services.

"Ensuring cancer patients and their families they have access to good psychological and social support can also make a big difference,” says Dr Coleman.

“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.

“Through this programme around 36 psychologists and social workers have been appointed at each of the six regional cancer centres.

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

For a copy of the review can be found on the Ministry of Health website here:

Media contact: Angela Kenealy 021 220 0129


Last updated: Monday, December 12, 2016

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