THE Cancer Council has a vision of change for the next NSW Government to consider before the election in March 2015.
“Saving Life 2015: Change Starts Here” calls on the next government to take action on five key issues that aim to reduce the number of people diagnosed with cancer and improve the quality of life of those who have been.
These issues include: addressing the sale of tobacco to support those who are trying to quit and encouraging young people to live smoke free; making sure Aboriginal cancer patients are cared for by Aboriginals; making coordinated cancer care, so people with cancer and their families get what care they need in a logical fashion wherever they live; and creating more palliative care services.
Bega Cancer Council’s community program coordinator Jennifer Mozina is concentrating on the fifth key issue - that of removing chemotherapy co-payments.
“We want no chemo co-payments for any patient treated in any hospital,” she said.
In NSW, public hospital patients may be charged up to $180 for their first round of therapy.
According to the Cancer Council, NSW is the only state that imposes these “co-payments”.
“You don’t pay for radiation so what is the difference between that and chemo?” Ms Mozina said.
“It is bad enough getting a cancer diagnosis as well as worrying about if you can afford the treatment.”
In Sydney, some hospitals have manoeuvred around this issue by admitting chemo patients as in-patients, therefore enabling them to receive their treatment for free.
Meanwhile, in regional hospitals, people with cancer needing chemotherapy are only admitted as outpatients.
Ms Mozina is inviting cancer patients to share their stories with her, and to tell her how the chemo co-payments are affecting them.
To do so, contact her at the Cancer Council Bega office on 6492 1805, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.