Canteen welcomes new Informed Financial Consent for cancer patients

July 24, 2019

24 July 2019 – National youth cancer charity, Canteen, has welcomed the new Informed Financial Consent guide which is hoped will help families dealing with a cancer diagnosis to better understand their medical treatment fees and out-of-pocket costs.

Jointly announced yesterday by the Australian Government and the Australian Medical Association (AMA), the new guide aims to empower patients to make informed decisions around their medical treatment.

Canteen CEO, Peter Orchard, said it is critical that GPs and specialists drive transparency and communication about service charges and out-of-pocket costs with their cancer patients.

“Imagine being a young person or family dealing with the incredibly tough news of a cancer diagnosis and then being asked to take in very complex information about the treatment costs, which could have a major impact on the financial stability of the family,” Mr Orchard said.

“We need our trusted medical professionals to guide, encourage and enable greater patient participation in informed discussions about their care options.”

Canteen worked with Cancer Council Australia, the Breast Cancer Network of Australia and the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia on a Standard for Informed Financial Consent last year which recommended:

  • full financial disclosure to patients;
  • providing an accurate fee estimate;
  • engaging patients in decisions about their care;
  • not charging a higher fee for a service that isn’t backed by publicly available evidence; and
  • not increasing medical bills for those who have a greater capacity to pay.

Canteen is pleased to see the AMA’s commitment to incorporating the vast majority of these elements in its Informed Financial Consent Guide.

Mr Orchard said that tools such as the itemised checklist included in the guide, and the website due to be delivered by the end of the year, will go some way to helping cancer patients ask the right questions but that the onus must be on the medical professional to lead those discussions.

“Australia’s public and private health systems are already complex to navigate. A devastating cancer diagnosis, with significant financial ramifications on top of that, means doctors and specialists should be leading these discussions about the likely out-of-pocket costs of treatment and having them very early on in the diagnosis and treatment phase,” he said.

 

ENDS

 

For more information on Canteen visit www.canteen.org.au or call 1800 226 833.

Media contact: Ali Morgan, Canteen’s Marketing and Communications Manager
02 9007 0241 / 0423 003 798 / ali.morgan@canteen.org.au