Is The New Cancer Agency a Cause for Celebration?

6 September 2019 -

We welcome the Government’s Cancer Action Plan and the Pharmac announcement that Venetoclax will finally be funded for Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia – great news!

But there is more to consider. Here’s how our CEO Peter Fergusson has reflected on the announcement.

“There are aspects of the plan that deserve celebration, like the creation of a National Cancer Control Agency and additional funding for Pharmac.

However …beyond those two specific items the remainder feels like a ‘plan to have a plan’. My initial exuberance is tempered by the realisation that there are few targets, few timeframes and minimal investment identified.

New Zealand has one of the highest cancer rates in the world with 46% of men and 33% of women developing cancer before age 75.

As our population ages, these numbers become even more daunting, with cancer diagnosis expecting to double over the next 15 years.

The agency will be tasked with ensuring consistency of care; equitable survival outcomes; fewer cancers and better cancer survival overall.

An immediate priority will be establishing performance indicators to measure cancer care across DHBs.While the agency provides centralised leadership, it needs investment at ground level to deliver these improvements.

This investment is not yet evident and remains my key concern.

With your support, I’ll continue to ensure the voices of blood cancer patients are heard and kept at the forefront of policy changes and cancer investment decisions made by Government.”

Learn more about the Government announcement of a Cancer Action Plan

Learn more about our CEO Peter Fergusson here