Calls for New Zealand to implement national cancer strategy

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Sunday, 3 February 2019, 11:44a.m.
Visiting doctors say we have good intentions but need to do better to implement these plans. (Photo / Getty)

The cancer conference in Wellington this week has painted a dire picture of the standard of cancer care in New Zealand.

Two International key note speakers were at the conference, professor of Cancer and Global Health at Kings College London, Richard Sullivan and Rami Rahal, the Executive Director of Cancer Control in Canada.

Both are world class leaders in cancer control and service improvement.

Yesterday, they ran workshops talking about a new approach to cancer care in New Zealand and a Cancer Action Plan.

Rahal told Francesca Rudkin that doctors in New Zealand are ready to take on the challenge of cancer.

Sullivan says he was impressed with this conference compared to ones around the world.

“What was remarkable about this was you had a very wide range of stakeholders across the whole of New Zealand.

“It was a feeling of solidarity. It felt that room was really out representing the best interest of patients.”

Rahal says that New Zealand has learnt that a country needs a coordinated strategy that stretches across all DHBs.

He says it's hard to tackle those challenges "piecemeal". 

"They are doing a lot of good work there, but to take on the biggest challenges in cancer, you need a co-ordinated action guided by a national strategy."

Sullivan says it is theoretically quite easy to put a plan together, but having an open, honest conversation about what is and isn't working well can be a harder part of the discussion. 


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