NSW Labor have today announced a Minns Labor Government will ensure New South Wales will become the first state in Australia where every person experiencing breast cancer will be able to receive the free care and support of a breast cancer nurse, committing $19.5 million over three years to fund an additional 29 McGrath Breast Cancer nurses to support people right across New South Wales.
This announcement is particularly supported by Shadow Minister for the Hunter Yasmin Catley and NSW Labor Candidate for Upper Hunter Peree Watson as this funding will provide an additional six McGrath Breast Care nurses to the Hunter New England Local Health District.
Breast Cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women, with 20,428 women and 212 men being diagnosed annually in Australia.
Currently, eight Breast Care Nurses are funded by the NSW Government, but there is no certainty of their future funding past this financial year. Eight more were previously funded by the state government but the funding was cancelled in 2021. They are now forced to rely on donations.
McGrath Breast Care Nurses are registered nurses, specially trained to provide invaluable physical, psychological and emotional support, from the time of diagnosis and throughout treatment throughout the course of their treatment. To date 48,000 families across New South Wales have been supported by a McGrath Breast Cancer Nurse.
A McGrath Breast Care Nurse in a full-time position supports on average 100 patients per year, with 90 per cent of women in Australia living within 75km of a McGrath Breast Care Nurse.
Research shows that getting early access within the first weeks to a dedicated nurse significantly improves the experience and outcomes of a person with breast cancer, including a reduction in emergency department presentations, reduction in clinical consulting time, and improved medical appointment attendance.
The key is that patients have access to the same nurse throughout their treatment.
Labor’s commitment today will provide access to this life saving care for all breast cancer patients on the Hunter and across NSW, and we are proud to be the first state in the country to make this a reality.
Yasmin Catley, NSW Shadow Minister for the Hunter said:
‘I am very proud to be a member of a team committed to delivering this announcement.
‘Importantly, for the Hunter this will provide certainty for all patients and their families that they will receive specialised care and support.
‘We know that to achieve gender equality we must take a whole of government approach to issues which disproportionately impact women and I am very proud that we have made this commitment which will benefit so many in the Hunter community.
Peree Watson, NSW Labor Candidate for Upper Hunter:
‘We know that the care that McGrath Breast Care Nurses offer is life changing.
‘Not only do they play an integral role informed by their medical training but most importantly they offer vital emotional support for those enduring cancer.
‘I’m proud that if a Minns Labor Government is elected, that support will be offered to all Upper Hunter breast cancer patients.