New Support for Cancer Patients
An important and compassionate initiative- this is how Dr Kerry Gibson, President of the New Zealand Psychological
Society (NZPsS) described Health Minister Jonathan Coleman’s announcement of $4.5 million a year for improved
psychological and social support for people who have had a diagnosis of cancer.
Having the input of psychologists for patients and their families during this challenging period of their lives will
help people to adjust to their diagnosis and cope with the demands of treatment.
Iris Fontanilla, Chair of the NZPsS Institute of the Health Psychology said today that psychologists have a depth of
understanding of the psychological effects of illness and are experienced in working in physical health settings.
They are well placed to provide support and expertise for patients with cancer.
Indeed, many are already working very effectively in this area. Having this vel of support increased for adults,
adolescents and their families will help alleviate the psychological distress, depression, and anxiety which can
accompany a diagnosis of cancer.
Many psychologists who work with people who have had traumatic experiences will be in a position to take up these
The Government is to be congratulated for meeting a significant health need and responding to it in a way that will make
a difference to the lives of cancer patients across the country.