ALP cancer package welcome to reduce out of pocket costs – RACP

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The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) says the ALP’s announcement of a $2.3 billion cancer care package will go a long way to reduce significant out of pocket costs for cancer patients and take some strain off the public hospital service.

RACP President-elect Professor John Wilson said measures in the package including a new Medicare item number to support increased rates of  bulk billing for consultations with oncologists, surgeons and other specialists, together with increased rebates for cancer patients needing diagnostic imaging scans and greater certainty of PBS listing will go a long way to reducing the financial burden of a cancer diagnosis.

“A cancer diagnosis can be the most difficult time of someone’s life – often made more devastating by the very high out of pocket costs incurred during treatment. These measures will go a long way to reducing a financial burden that only makes that hard time even worse,” Prof Wilson said.

“Despite our universal health system, cancer patients can incur significant costs because the management is a lengthy process requiring multiple health professionals and multiple visits to each professional.

“The treatment and management pathway may therefore encompass the costs of multiple specialist consultations, pathology and imaging tests for both diagnostics and further investigation, radiation therapy, surgical procedures and chemotherapy and other medications.

“In addition to these direct medical costs there are also costs associated with allied health services such as various counselling and psychosocial support services, physiotherapy, nursing, medical services to address treatment-related side effects (e.g. immunotherapy) and palliative care.”

Media contact: Peter Stahel – media@racp.edu.au, 0408 584 439

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