Budget reply picks a winner in cancer

Cancer is Horrible: So Is Death From Any Cause

The announcement tonight by Opposition Leader Shorten that the centrepiece of its health policy is to pick one medical condition, cancer, and ensure adequate funding for it alone goes against every principle which guides our profession.

Our patients suffer and die from heart disease, strokes, kidney failure, diabetic complications, arthritis complications, asbestosis, suicide, motor neuron disease, and many other treatable and often preventable conditions. Some of our patients also suffer and die from cancer.

To ensure excellent affordable access to care for patients who suffer from cancer is fantastic. To deny similar access to all the other patients with the many causes of pain, suffering, and death is an insult to doctors and their patients. We treat people, whatever the problem. We do not treat a diagnosis. We want all our patients to have affordable access to life saving and life changing care.

Our public hospitals provide timely access to world class care for those with immediate life threatening conditions like cancer. The biggest cost is usually the parking fee. This policy will be very helpful for those who wish to access private care. It will have minimal impact on those cancer sufferers who use the public system. It will have no impact on those who struggle with the delays and costs for non cancer illnesses.

We ask that the Leader of the Opposition broaden this narrow minded policy and understand that our health system is about treating people, not diseases.

Dr Tim Woodruff

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