The Opposition has called on the State Government to commit to a three-year funding contract to support the work of the respected McGrath breast cancer nurses across the State.
Opposition Leader Mia Davies raised the issue in Parliament, and said the McGrath Foundation staff provided reassurance and support for breast cancer patients as they made their way through their breast cancer experience.
“Breast cancer is a traumatic and challenging disease for many patients, so any support the near 20,000 women and 164 men affected can receive is priceless,” Ms Davies said.
“The McGrath Foundation has requested a three-year contract to keep breast cancer nurses ready and available to help patients, as well as just over $880,000 to fund an extra eight nurses.
“The McGrath Foundation currently has only a 12-month contract which offers little certainty and limits their ability to plan effectively to deliver their critical support services.”
Ms Davies said the Government needed to consider this request ahead of the next State budget and dip into the State’s overflowing coffers to ensure the Foundation can continue to deliver important care and support to people going through breast cancer treatment.
Shadow Health Minister Libby Mettam said it was concerning to learn that government support for three McGrath Breast Care Nurses would expire at the end of October, with no word from the Department of Health on whether funding would be renewed.
“In a State as large as WA, the emotional, physical and psychological support provided by the nurses can be vital,” Ms Mettam said.
“We know that the health system is under extreme pressure at the moment and these nurses are able to fill a critical gap.
“Recent modelling by Deloitte Access Economics showed the support of the nurses has reduced the number of emergency department presentations, reduced clinician consulting times and improved quality of life for those patients.
“Given the benefits to patients and the State, I implore the WA Labor Government to provide certainty for the McGrath Foundation, the nurses and their patients and renew the funding urgently.”
The Opposition Leader and Shadow Health Minister also encouraged all eligible West Australians to take the time to get screened this month, with regular checks increasing the chance of catching breast cancer early.