Increased investment a sound start to addressing critical access gaps
Canberra, AUSTRALIA – GenesisCare, the largest provider of integrated cancer care in Australia, has today welcomed a raft of measures outlined in this year’s Federal Budget’s health package, as a positive step in reducing the burden of cancer on the Australian community.
GenesisCare acknowledges and congratulates the Government for its commitment to supporting cancer patients throughout all stages of their treatment journey, including genomics, diagnostic imaging, medical oncology and holistic nursing support.
Early detection saves lives
GenesisCare welcomes the Federal Government’s commitment to increasing access to critical diagnostic imaging services in areas of high unmet need, including:
- $66.0 million over 4 years to remove the restriction on the number of MRI machines eligible for Medicare in regional, rural and remote Australia
- $24.8 million over 4 years for new and amended items for MRI services relating to the diagnosis of liver and breast cancers
- $32.6 million over 4 years for a new item for positron emission tomography to inform treatment pathways for rare cancers
- $40.7 million over 3 years to address the reduction in testing and screening services due to the COVID-19 pandemic
Chief Medical Officer for GenesisCare Oncology Australia, Radiation Oncologist, Dr Marie Burke OAM, said the “COVID-19 pandemic has had an undeniably profound impact on cancer care in Australia and sadly we are seeing patients presenting with later stage disease due to delayed diagnosis.”
“Diagnostic imaging services are a critical component in the provision of highly quality integrated cancer care, from the initial diagnosis through to treatment and ongoing screening of patients.
“Significant disparities persist in patient access to diagnostic imaging equipment in Australia and this year’s Budget is a positive step in ensuring the benefits of the latest advancements in imaging technology are fully realised,” said Dr Burke.
Futureproofing our regional health system
GenesisCare commends the Government on its rural health workforce package, including:
- $99.3 million over 4 years to fund an increase in the number of medical students in rural and remote locations
- $32.6 million over 4 years to fund 2 new University Departments of Rural Health in the South West and Goldfields regions of Western Australia
“Maintaining and investing in a highly skilled workforce to provide quality cancer care in regional areas is imperative in ensuring the needs of cancer patients are met now and into the future,” said Dr Burke.
Accelerating research and adoption of precision medicine & genomics
GenesisCare welcomes the significant investment in genomics research, including $28.1 million over 4 years to establish Genomics Australia to drive the translation and integration of genomics into the Australian healthcare system.
“Over the last decade tremendous progress has been made on a global basis in precision medicine and personalised cancer care. We have seen increasing personalisation of care which focuses on ensuring individuals receive the right treatments and in the right sequence,” said Dr Burke.
“Genomics is the foundation of personalised medicine and GenesisCare congratulates the Government on the establishment of its new agency Genomics Australia, to lead the integration of personalised medicine as standard of care in Australia.”
Increasing access to life-saving medicines
GenesisCare warmly welcomes the listing of Trodelvy on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, which is used to treat triple negative breast cancer. Currently without a subsidy, patients have been paying over $80,000 per course of treatment.
GenesisCare also acknowledges other measures including the $39.8 million investment in the McGrath Foundation’s Breast Care Nurses Program and $4 million towards Ovarian Cancer Australia’s Teal Support Program.
“Specialist nurses play a key role in the delivery of integrated cancer care, providing emotional and psychosocial support to patients and their families throughout all stages of the treatment journey,” said Dr Burke.