New Zealand's biggest investment into health in 20 years should be used to re-design the system to ensure all Kiwis have access to world-class cancer care.
That was the response from the Cancer Society of New Zealand, whose experts urged district health boards to take the opportunity to be aspirational for people affected by cancer.
"New Zealanders want accurate and timely diagnosis, high-quality care and wrap around support no matter who they are or where they live.
"This funding could deliver a transformative result if it's used to re-design the system," Lucy Elwood, chief executive of Cancer Society of New Zealand, said.
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She said the society had observed innovation in the sector during the Covid-19 lockdown and wanted to encourage DHBs to continue finding new ways of working to improve patient outcomes.
"We've seen some patient services moving online that have saved travel and time. We are working with some DHBs on trials using Cancer Society facilities to support consultations for those not able to manage the technology.
"The $282.5m catch-up campaign for planned care and elective surgeries will be welcome news for cancer patients impacted by the Covid-19 lockdown."
The Cancer Society welcome the new funding announced for Pharmac but said it was unclear if it would have any impact on the availability of cancer medicines.
"The funding increase, with no change in operating rules for Pharmac, signal a business-as-usual approach to medicine funding decisions," Chris Jackson, medical director of Cancer Society of New Zealand, said.
"There are stubborn and persisting problems in transparency, accountability, engagement with specialists, and timely decision making that are yet to be addressed with Pharmac. We can't see these addressed here and they need to be," Jackson said.