Move to aid 16 city cancer patients

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A more streamlined process introduced by the Government could simplify life for 16 cancer patients in Dunedin.

Minister of Social Development Anne Tolley announced last month jobseeker support recipients with a cancer diagnosis would no longer need to provide multiple medical certificates in order to receive their benefit.

The standard four weeks, plus four weeks, then 13 weeks medical certificate requirement has been replaced by one medical certificate.

This could be extended further to cover the duration of treatment if supporting information was provided, the Ministry of Social Development said.

Responding to an Official Information Act request from The Star, MSD said as at March 31 there were 16 clients receiving a jobseeker support payment where the main incapacity was recorded as cancer, assigned to the Dunedin, South Dunedin, and Mosgiel service centres.

Cancer Society Otago and Southland division chief executive Rachael Hart said the organisation had advocated for the changes.

It would make the process easier for cancer patients in receipt of a jobseeker payment.

“I think when someone gets a cancer diagnosis, they have a whole lot of worries and concerns.

“This requirement cuts out a whole lot of red tape so it makes it easy for them at a difficult time.”

Since the announcement, the Cancer Society’s supportive care team had been working through the detail of the changes, Dr Hart said.