HRH Prince Charles chats with Ashleigh Moore, Chair, CVSA and his wife Justine - November 2012


2013 Election issues for Australians affected by cancer

In the interests of better advising Cancer Voices’ members, their friends and families so they can make an informed vote this election, we are surveying the major political parties regarding issues which our members have told us are the most important to them.  Once received, we will circulate their responses among our members and networks and make posts on our website and Facebook.

The questions are:

  • Does your Party support the removal of the ability to grant patents over naturally occurring human genetic material?
  • Should all cancer treatment centres, public and private clinics be required to be accredited for standards of clinical care?
  • Cancer patients and their medical advisers need central access to authoritative best practice clinical guidelines via a central website, such as Cancer Australia’s:  would your Party support this?
  • Timing of approvals for new cancer drugs and tests is improving but needs more attention:  would your Party support further review of the TGA, PBAC and MSAC processes to this end?
  • Does your Party agree that public cancer patients should not have to face cost add-ons, and especially for standard chemotherapy treatment?
  • Community Pharmacy Agreements (CPA):  health consumers recommend that the CPAs should have stakeholder participation, including health consumers, and be transparent re what $15.6b over 5 years provides Australian taxpayers.  What is your Party’s view?
  • Does your Party agree that a Medicare rebate should be given to those cancer diagnostic tools which are commonly used overseas, eg PET scans?
  • What is your view on the need for equity in access to palliative care services, with appropriate funding via the states?
  • Co-ordination of cancer care:  cancer patients commend the introduction of national guidelines to ensure clarity re what co-ordination of services should be provided and expected – would your Party support this?
  • Cancer patients and referring doctors need access to Directories of Cancer Specialist Services, similar to NSW’s Canrefer website.  Would your Party support this development in other states?
  • Patient held cancer treatment and care plans will improve efficiency and outcomes:  what is your view on requiring these be introduced?
  • Lymphoedema garments currently do not have a Medicare item number and are very costly for those who need them:  would your Party support adding this to Medicare coverage?
  • Cancer patients want cancer research to be more focussed on personalised medicine and targeted therapies:  does your Party commit to supporting this as a priority?
  • Would your Party support a conscience vote about legalising the medical use of marijuana for the terminally ill?
  • Travel for rural patients can be costly & deter treatment: would your Party commit to reconsidering a national patient travel assistance scheme, including assistance to participate in clinical trials?
  • We look for a commitment to continue excellent initiatives introduced over the current Government’s term, eg improved cancer data collection by the AIHW and Cancer Australia?

Say No to Gene Patents

July 2013

Cancer Voices Australia continues to call for an amendment to the Patents Act 1990 to remove the ability to patent human genetic material. Sally Crossing was invited to address the Coalition Backbench Policy Committee on 24 June - the last sitting week of Parliament. Sally's address, posted on Croakey, was a good opportunity to discuss the impact of the very positive decision against patenting human genes by the US Supreme Court on 13 June. Write to our MPs before the Election. 

The Australian Federal Court (Full Bench) hearing is on 7-8 August in Sydney - be there if you can!

March 2013

Cancer Voices Australia, in the wake of the 15 February 2013 Federal Court's negative decision to uphold the ability to patent human genes, are contributing to a petition to the Australian Parliament. We urge everyone concerned about this situation to download the petition from here

We need as many signatures as possible, so copy the sheet and ask your friends, colleagues and community to sign and support the petition.

Waiting times for elective cancer surgery

Cancer Voices Australia nominated two representatives to this National Health Performance Authority (NHPA) Advisory Commitee - Don Matters from Cancer Voices SA and Sally Crossing from Cancer Voices NSW. The Authority will report around the end of August and the outcomes will be of great interest to the people affected by cancer and service planners.

Review of chemotherapy funding arrangements

Cancer Voices Australia has played an active advocacy role on the issue of chemotherapy funding arrangements over the last six months and is pleased that our formal call for a full review has been expedited by Minister Plibersek. 

The aim of the PBS Chemotherapy Medicines Review is "to maximise the benefits consumers receive from chemotherapy infusions by ensuring efficient and effective clinical processes and appropriate funding arrangements for the preparation and supply of those infusions".

Cancer Voices Australia will work with the Consumer Health Forum of Australia which has been engaged to consult directly with consumers and consumer groups. We will keep you posted about opportunities to contribute or you can do so directly to the Review. The Review will report to the Minister by October 2013.

Radiation Oncology

Cancer Voices Australia has been invited to attend the Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Radiology's (RANZCR) Consumer Consultation regarding strategic plans.

COSA 2013 Consumer Forum in Adelaide on 11 November 2013

Cancer Voices Australia will be working with Cancer Council SA and the Clinical Oncology Society Australia (COSA) to plan the annual Consumer Forum which is associated with the major Annual Scientific Meeting of the Australian cancer "world". Watch this space for details, and mark Monday 11 November - COSA Consumer Forum at Adelaide Convention Centre in your diary.

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