Thank you for the questions. There is so much to say about cancer research, and unfortunately even more about our politics with big pharma. We had a Killam lecture a few years ago who ask why we haven’t cured cancer yet, and the answer had little to do with science and more with lawyers.
Over 202,000 Canadians are diagnosed with cancer every year, including an estimated 6,000 new cases diagnosed in Nova Scotia, with approximately 2,700 dying of cancer. Clearly, this life-threatening illness affects entire communities, especially families, friends and co-workers.
The Canadian Cancer Survivor Network (CCSN) is a national network of patients, families, survivors, friends, families, community partners and sponsors. Its mission is to work together by taking action to promote the very best standard of care, support, follow up and quality of life for patients and survivors. It aims to educate the public and policy makers about cancer survivorship and encourage research on ways to alleviate barriers to optimal cancer care in Canada.
The government of Nova Scotia has an important role to play in making sure that everyone diagnosed with cancer has timely access to cancer care and essential medical services as well as access to emergency rooms and the treatment and medications they need. There are 106,000 people in Nova Scotia without a family doctor, and the shortage is going to worsen as a growing number of physicians near retirement, recruitment levels are dwindling and health needs are becoming more and more complex (http://thechronicleherald.ca/novascotia/1463162-doctorsns-says-we-need-100-new-doctors-a-year-for-10-years).
We invite you to respond to the following questions related to cancer care and healthcare in Nova Scotia. Your responses will be circulated to cancer patients and survivors in Nova Scotia and posted on our website, www.survivornet.ca and on our social media.
The Canadian Medical Association Journal published research in 2014 that showed one in twelve Canadians report they skip doses or decide not to fill prescriptions because of cost.
If elected to government, what will your party do to make prescription medications more affordable?
Healthcare is the number four issue (behind education, labour relations and balanced books) on the minds of NS voters.
a) How will your government improve the delivery of cancer care and other healthcare services in NS?
b) Will your government restructure healthcare delivery, and if so, how?
c) How will your government ensure that cancer patients receive the services they need, including home care, financial assistance during recovery and for long-term side effects of cancer and/or treatment?
A key element of ensuring timely treatment for a Canadian cancer patient is ensuring they have access to the medications they need at the time they need them. Unfortunately, this is not always the case in Nova Scotia. As of January 31, 2015 Nova Scotia drug plans covered 23.5% of the 464 new drugs approved by Health Canada from 2004-2013 and the average number days to list the new drug covered under each public drug plan was 681(Coverage for new medicines in Canada’s public drug plans, 2015, Mark Rovere and Dr. Brett J. Skinner).
If elected to government, will you commit to ensuring that all cancer patients in Nova Scotia receive timely access to medications at the time they need it?
Numbers released by Statistics Canada indicate that 11.3 per cent of the population, or just over 100,000 people, did not have access to a health-care provider.
If elected, how will your government ensure that all Nova Scotians have access to a health-care provider?
We thank you for your attention to this important matter.
Canadian Cancer Survivor Network