David Clark says health system has made cancer patients' lives 'very difficult'

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Section
Audio,
Publish Date
Friday, 1 February 2019, 8:44a.m.
Health Minister David Clark.

Health Minister David Clark is acknowledging the health system has made cancer patients' lives more difficult.

Yesterday David Clark attended the biggest cancer care conference in decades, where he assured the Government is working hard to improve cancer control. 

He told Mike Hosking the cost, excruciating pain and uncertainty in the current system was communicated to him through one man's story.

"Incredibly moving and his wife was very accurate and able to lay out to costs on their family so far in the cancer journey."

"We all know someone who has been affected by cancer and their story is very personal and you have got to credit them for having the courage to share it, to highlight some of the challenges in the system that we currently have." 

"They had to wait 13 hours in an emergency department just to be seen at one point...and the cost of the excruciating pain from that was laid bare." 

Clark said they are facing two main issues, a shortage of staff and under-funding.

"There is an acknowledged shortage of these staff...and that's not something that can be addressed overnight...that will take years to fix."

"Those staff, of course, take five to 10 years to train depending on how specialised they are but it is something we are determined to put more money and effort into."

He said they are working on an action plan to make the system work better. 

"There has been a call from all the groups for bowel cancer, for greater centralisation of leadership."

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