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Source: New Zealand Ministry of Health

Cancer Control Agency interim chief executive Professor Diana Sarfati says the theme of today’s World Cancer Day ‘taking action’ has been the Agency’s focus since launching 9 weeks ago.

‘The updated New Zealand Cancer Action Plan 2019–2029, which was published yesterday, clearly outlines what we need to do for the future, including being an equity led, person and whānau centred, outcomes focused and knowledge rich organisation,’ Professor Sarfati says.

‘We know that while gains have been made, it’s time to do more. Our vision to ensure New Zealanders receive world class care, regardless of who they are or where they live, is a step closer to becoming a reality.  We’re excited about what we can achieve in New Zealand in Cancer Control.

‘We’re building an expert team who are committed to reducing the impact of cancer in New Zealand and operating as a world-class Cancer Control Agency. Next week, we’re expecting to announce our latest appointment – a Director of Equity, who will ensure we deliver on our commitment to equitable outcomes.

‘Our Agency’s immediate focus has been to work alongside those in the cancer system who have experienced cancer and those who deliver care. Community forums will begin later this month with consumers and whānau, and specifically with Māori and Pacific peoples, to understand how our Agency can embed a strong community voice in our work and ensure our cancer system treats everybody fairly.

‘We’re also identifying gaps in cancer services for high priority cancers and will engage with the sector to ensure these are closed. We’re committed to publishing new reports on three cancer types this year that will drive quality and consistent cancer care nationwide.

‘We’re really pleased we have had our first meeting last week with the newly-formed Cancer Control Agency Clinical Assembly, who are a group of highly skilled clinicians. Its chair, Dr Chris Jackson, tells us the Assembly demonstrates the strong commitment from cancer doctors, nurses, and other professionals to work together with us for better outcomes for New Zealanders with cancer.

‘Taking action will continue to be the focus of our Agency through 2020 and beyond,’ Professor Sarfati says.