Role means better help for cancer patients

18:51, Feb 18 2013
tdn cancer stand
SPECIALIST CARE: Monique Bastin, 29, settled into her new role as cancer nurse co-ordinator at Taranaki Base Hospital on Monday.

Taranaki cancer patients can look forward to a better support system at the hands of newly-appointed cancer nurse co-ordinator, Monique Bastin.

Ms Bastin began her new role at Taranaki Base Hospital as a specialist cancer nurse yesterday, after five years working at Te Rangimarie Hospice.

The 29-year-old is one of 40 dedicated cancer nurses appointed to work in public hospitals around the country before the end of May.

The New Plymouth woman said it was an exciting new initiative that addressed a significant gap which had been evident in the health system for some time.

"People are quite often given a diagnosis and it's a few weeks before they're told the course of treatment, so quite often they don't know where to go from there," she said.

"In the past there has been no-one there to support them. My role is to be there for question and answer time and support them through the experience I have in oncology."

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Health Minister Tony Ryall said the Government would invest $4 million a year to ensure every DHB had at least one full-time dedicated cancer nurse to provide better and faster cancer services.

"The specialist nurses will act as a single point of contact so patients and their families no longer have to deal with multiple people from different parts of the health service.

"Nursing has warmly welcomed this new role, which will vastly improve the treatment experience for patients by reducing delays, stress and duplication."

Mr Ryall said it was not a one-size-fits-all approach and all DHBs had tailored the role to best suit its needs, as well as its patients.

A national clinical nurse lead would be appointed later this month to support the cancer nurses and promote service improvements. TDHB clinical nurse manager Lizzie Churches said it was tremendous to have Ms Bastin on board. "We're aware there has been a gap in the system from the time of diagnosis to treatment, so having someone there to support patients and be there as a point of contact will be invaluable."

Taranaki Daily News