Increase Availability of Oncology Social Workers
A significant proportion of cancer patients have moderate-to-high needs for help regarding coping with their illness and its treatment. Stress levels for partners of people with cancer can be even higher.
Untreated psychological conditions can result in greater pain, poorer physical functioning, higher medical costs and longer hospital stays, placing an added burden on the health system.
The NSW public health system doesn’t have enough psycho-oncology staff members, including social workers, to provide adequate levels of psychosocial support across all services.
Oncology social workers have a critical role in providing psychosocial support to people coping with cancer. They also help them to navigate the health care system and find support to manage the day-to-day challenges of living with the disease. Increasing the number and distribution of oncology social workers will result in more cancer patients and carers receiving psychosocial care.
Tell the NSW Minister for Health − Jillian Skinner − that a review of the psycho-oncology positions within NSW is long overdue! An audit of the existing psycho-social support positions for cancer patients should be an immediate priority, along with a survey of public cancer treatment centres to identify gaps in psychosocial service provision.
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