Breast care nurses epitomise what it is to be a national hero and it is with great privilege the Morrison-McCormack Government is able to continue supporting The McGrath Foundation’s breast care nurses with a $3 million investment in 2021.
The funding will support these wonderful Australians as they continue to protect and save the lives of so many Australian women with breast cancer.
The investment will also fund a scoping project that will seek feedback from patients on what aspects of breast care nurse support they value the most.
Acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack said Jane McGrath Day, as part of the Sydney Cricket Test, was a highlight on the Australian calendar and an initiative the Government was privileged to contribute to.
“Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, it is great to see the Sydney Cricket Ground still awash with pink and the determination of the cricketing community and the wider Australian community to carry on Jane McGrath’s legacy is as strong as ever,” the Acting Prime Minister said.
“Australia’s breast care nurses are at the core of this, particularly in regional communities. They are supporting our breast cancer patients and their families with personal care and genuine compassion.
“They improve the quality of care in so many ways, from fewer specialist appointments, to improved understanding and clarity, to more confidence and reduced anxiety. They are Australian heroes by every definition.
“I thank Glenn, James, Holly, Madison, Sara and everyone at the McGrath Foundation for their tremendous work, and express my deep gratitude to McGrath Foundation breast care nurses and all breast care nurses for their unrivalled commitment to supporting breast cancer patients.”
The Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said feedback from the scoping project will help inform the ongoing development of advanced cancer care nursing roles.
The McGrath Foundation will form a stakeholder working group to guide this project and will provide a report to the Government in the second half of 2021.
“When listening to breast cancer patients I often hear them describe their care nurses as their own personal ‘angel,’ and I think that’s a pretty accurate description,’ Minister Hunt said.
“Australia still has one of the highest survival rates for breast cancer in the world. The five‑year relative survival for people with breast cancer was 91.1 per cent from 2012‑2016, but we must aim higher.
“It is critical that as a Government we continue to pursue improvements across the board, and support the ongoing development of cancer care nursing roles so that breast cancer patients receive the greatest care possible.”
Australia’s network of breast care nurses (BCNs) work within multidisciplinary teams to coordinate care from diagnosis and throughout treatment, free of charge.
The Minister for Women, Senator Marise Payne thanked Australia’s breast care nurses, saying they helped women with breast cancer and their families navigate through the often complex world of hospitals and cancer wards.
“These nurses are improving lives across Australia. They listen, guide and support people with breast cancer and their families with health advice and quality care,” Senator Payne said.
“This holistic care includes physical, psychological and emotional support for people with breast cancer and their families.”
Breast cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths in Australian women. Tragically, nearly 3,000 lives were lost to breast cancer last year.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in Australian women, with an estimated more than 19,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020, as well as more than 160 men.
The Government already provides funding to support the recruitment, training and employment of specialist breast care nurses through the McGrath Foundation.
This funding is in addition to the Government’s funding of $38 million to the McGrath Foundation from 2019–20 to 2022–23 to increase the number of Commonwealth-funded breast care nurses from 57 to 102 positions.