National Party cancer care proposal is light on detail - David Clark

Ryan Bridge 29/07/2019

Minister of Health Dr David Clark has criticised National's cancer care proposal as being "light on detail" in an interview with Magic Talk Drive with Ryan Bridge.

Ryan begins the interview by asking what the Health Minister thinks of the recently announced plans for cancer agency with a fund of 200 million dollars.

The Minister explains the Government getting down to work and promised to take cancer care seriously but with respect to National's plans "they are light on detail, they only really talk about drugs.

They're not talking about the full spectrum of cancer care.

Clark cites the sector as having concerns for early access to new treatments which National do not address. Prompted by that Ryan then asks if the Government will be announcing any proposal less light on the details.

Ryan asks if Clark is saying that the Government will announce a fund separate to Pharmac for early access medicines, but Clark refuses to make any announcements on the matter.

The interview moves then to funding for Pharmac as Ryan comments that even the low level of investment increases National implemented are more then this current Government's.

Dr Clark counters that there have been increases in the reach that Pharmac has had with those in need, although Ryan says funding has failed to match population Growth.

With that in mind Clark points to National's tenure as having created many major problems.

There are a lot of areas in health that have been underfunded under the National Government's watch.

"We can't fix them all in one or two budgets but we are working through them carefully."

Ryan then questions the Minister on the damning report into southland DHB endoscopy procedures and long waiting times. The Minister tells Ryan that "the standard of care has not been adequate in many cases."

This is the problem that we have inherited.

The Minister then goes on to say that he intends not to look to the mistakes of the past Government but instead look forward for solutions.

You can listen to the full interview above.