Every person experiencing breast cancer in NSW to have access to a breast cancer nurse under a NSW Labor Government

07 January 2023

A Labor Government will ensure NSW will become the first state in Australia where every person experiencing breast cancer will be able to receive the free care and support of a McGrath Breast Care Nurse, committing $19.5 million over three years to fund an additional 29 McGrath Breast Care nurses to support people right across New South Wales. 

This means under Labor, New South Wales will have 45 out of 92 McGrath Breast Care Nurses funded by the State Government to help support breast cancer patients. 

Breast Cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women, with 20,428 women and 212 men being diagnosed annually in Australia. 

Currently, eight McGrath Breast Care Nurses are funded by the NSW Government. The Government only yesterday committed to continuing this funding.
Eight more were previously funded by the state government but the funding ceased in 2021. They are now funded by donations from the community.

"We know that one in seven Australia women are diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, and today’s announcement provides some certainty that if you do face breast cancer in New South Wales, you will receive specialised support," Jodie Harrison MP, NSW Shadow Minister for Women, said. 

"To achieve gender equality in society we must take a whole of government approach to issues which disproportionately impact women.

"I am proud to be a member of a team who is taking meaningful action to improve the lives of women across our state."

McGrath Breast Care Nurses are registered nurses, specially trained to provide invaluable physical, psychological and emotional support, from the time of diagnosis and throughout treatment throughout the course of their treatment. To date 48,000 families across New South Wales have been supported by a McGrath Breast Care Nurse.

A McGrath Breast Care Nurse in a full-time position supports on average 100 patients per year, with 90 per cent of women in Australia living within 75km of a McGrath Breast Care Nurse.

Research shows that getting early access within the first weeks to a dedicated nurse significantly improves the experience and outcomes of a person with breast cancer, including a reduction in emergency department presentations, reduction in clinical consulting time, and improved medical appointment attendance. 

The key is that patients have free access to a specialised nurse who can act as their advocate.

Labor’s commitment today will provide access to this life saving care for all breast cancer patients in NSW, and we are proud to be the first state in the country to make this a reality.