Cancer campaigner questions exclusion

Melissa Vining has been a central figure in the ...
Melissa Vining. Photo: ODT files
Southland's cancer care advocate Melissa Vining is the latest to voice concern over the exclusion of the disease from the Government's new health system indicators.

The framework was announced earlier in the month as part of the health system reform, and replaced the National Health Targets regime.

One of those with a leading role in the building of the Southland Charity Hospital, Ms Vining lost her husband, Blair, to cancer in 2019.

Both were vocal about improving cancer care in New Zealand, and she is now calling for Health Minister Andrew Little to reconsider the government’s priorities.

She was not the first to raise concern, and followed what the Cancer Society had said. The society rebuked Mr Little, who said the society was ‘‘off the planet’’.

Mrs Vining was disappointed with how the minister had responded to the society.

“To say the Cancer Society is ‘off the planet’ because of the serious concerns it has raised is just shocking to me,” she said.

The society addressed the matter last Monday.

“While we certainly acknowledge that much progress has been made, for example the establishment of Te Aho o Te Kahu, the Cancer Control Agency and a national cancer plan, we are acutely aware there is much that we can improve to deliver better outcomes,’’ the society said.

Ms Vining wondered how the 12 key indicators failed to include cancer, when there was “example after example” of the system failing those facing a cancer diagnosis.

“When questioned in Parliament, Andrew Little said the indicators are about pointing out where our health system is failing to meet public expectations, and pointing out where the system is in trouble or underperforming.”

She was alarmed, as cancer was the biggest killer of New Zealanders.

“This Government campaigned on ensuring New Zealanders received world-class cancer care ... Minister Little stated that the health system indicators ensure it focuses on the areas most in need of improvement and measure how well the system is functioning.”



I suggest an email to the following Govt Ministers & Associate Health Ministers showing your view on this disgraceful omission, would show the Ministers that the NZ Team of 5 Million is not impressed with the lack of urgency in Cancer Health outcomes in New Zealand.
Email addresses are:
Health Minister Hon Andrew Little -
The associate Health Ministers are:
Hon Peeri Henare -
Hon Dr. Ayesha Verrall -
and Hon Aupito William Sio -
and the PM's email is: