A Shorten Labor Government will provide greater support for men with prostate cancer and their families by committing $10.6 million to double the number of Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurses.
Prostate cancer is the most diagnosed cancer in Australia and our third most deadly cancer. In 2016, more than 3,000 Australian men will die from prostate cancer, and 20,000 will be diagnosed with it.
The Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurses program provides vital assistance to these men and their families. It places highly trained registered nurses in hospitals and other health settings. They provide expert information and support – for example, by helping men access services outside hospitals and making their journey through our health system easier.
Labor’s $10.6 million commitment over three years will double the number of Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurses funded by the Federal Government to 28. This will increase the total number of nurses around Australia to over 40, meeting unmet need.
Labor expects that its new commitment will give an additional 2,000 men each year access to a Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurse.
The new nurses funded by Labor will be assigned by the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA), based on need.
According to Associate Professor Anthony Lowe, Chief Executive Officer of PCFA, the announcement gives hope that more Australian men affected by prostate cancer may have better access to this specialist service, especially in rural and regional Australia. "We are pleased to hear that the Labor Party understands the importance of having the Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurses in the field and providing additional support to men and their families who are fighting prostate cancer,” said Associate Professor Lowe.
The Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia created the Specialist Nurse program in 2012, with support from the Movember Foundation. The former Labor Government expanded the Program with a $7 million commitment in 2013. Labor’s investment doubled the number of nurses employed across Australia to the current level of 28.
But under Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership, the Liberals have not given the program the funding certainty it deserves and existing funding is set to expire in June 2017. The program is particularly vulnerable because it’s financed from the Department of Health’s ‘Flexible Funds’ – which the Coalition has cut by around $1 billion, including almost $200 million in new cuts in Malcolm Turnbull’s 2016-17 Budget.
In contrast, a Shorten Labor Government will safeguard this crucial program with funding across the usual four-year Budget cycle, and expand its reach.
Labor’s investment to support men with prostate cancer is further proof that only Labor believes that all Australians, no matter where they live or how much they earn, are entitled to the best possible health care, not just the care they can afford.