The Malta Independent 15 October 2021, Friday

PN launches proposals to help cancer patients

Monday, 20 September 2021, 13:12 Last update: about 25 days ago

The Nationalist Party has made a number of proposals to help cancer patients, including ones that will improve access to medicine.

"Better quality of life as well as better care are at the heart of a Nationalist Party led government as new proposals related to cancer treatment with a holistic approach proposed," PN spokesperson Stephen Spiteri said.

"Charity is a noble gesture, but unfortunately patients seeking cancer treatment are relying heavily on NGOs in order to have access to cancer treatment. This leads to the disheartening of patients and their families," Spiteri added.

"As the Nationalist Party we recognise this problem and we desperately need to tackle it."

The PN cluster responsible for quality of life and care has spoken to stakeholders such as cancer patients, their families and healthcare professionals to create a set of proposals aimed at providing adequate care for patients and their families, he said.

"The oncology centre at Mater Dei Hospital is not keeping up with the demand. This is a system which has failed and the government has to take responsibility for the situation. NGOs should not become an extension of the oncology centre," Spiteri added.

The proposals brought forward by the PN are split into four objectives. The first being the biological care of cancer patients, the second set of objectives aims at improving the prevention of cancer, the third set looks to provide a holistic approach to cancer treatment, while the last set is aimed at improving the research facilities in Malta. Together with Spiteri, PN spokesperson Claudette Buttigieg and candidate Ian Vassalo announced the proposals.

The first measure is to create a fund in order to finance the necessary medicines for free for cancer patients. This includes both first and second line medicines which are approved by the European Medicines agency.

This objective also proposes that drugs on the government formulary be updated in order to offer medicines without having the patient rely on third party entities to provide them.

The PN also proposes that a Drug Fund would be set up in order to provide the supportive medicines in cancer treatment automatically. This would also improve on the bureaucracy levels in this regard, Spiteri said.

When it comes to screening, Spiteri said that "the Nationalist Party aims to build on the success it had when it proposed the screening programmes." This includes widening the screening programme in order to screen the whole population at various stages, improve the genetic screening in order to start treatment were necessary at an early stage.

In the third set of proposals, the main aim is to create a holistic approach to cancer treatment by introducing a 24 hour walk in clinic as well as an electronic health system where patients can be monitored at the comfort of their own home

PN also proposes that the use of ambulatory chemotherapy would be used in order to give patients the treatment they need at the comfort of their own home. "This would improve the chances of a cancer patient being less exposed to other infections found in hospital," Vassalo said.

The fourth and final cohort of proposals looks to implement proper investment in the life sciences sector in Malta.

Buttigieg said that creating a clinical research unit would give the opportunity for new drug trials to commence in Malta. "This would give new hope to people being treated for cancer and it would help provide better solutions in cancer care."

"These proposals, together with investment in innovation with regards to the oncology department and bilateral agreements with other countries, are the key for patients to be offered quality care," Buttigieg said. 

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