Cancer expert needed here

LETTER

Our country has the second highest cancer rate in the world, after Australia. Pharmac, which has complete control over funding of medicinal drugs, seems to be floundering around essential decisions on immunotherapy drugs that save and extend people’s lives. With nearly one in two people getting cancer in their lifetimes, this is so bad.

New Zealand needs expertise from overseas to show the way and inform Pharmac over how and which drugs are performing. As a cancer sufferer myself, who never smoked, I was treated by a world leader from Houston America right here in Gisborne. He had worked for some years in cancer treatments at Palmerston North. He advised what to do here and this is why I am probably still alive now.

This Labour Government is probably the first in power where the value of immunotherapy drugs is really clear and in the news. We need leadership because this immunotherapy drug expert is not getting anywhere with his New Zealand citizenship application with Immigration NZ.

William McCallum wants to keep working here, saving lives. And oh, do we need him here. Meantime, he is teaching doctors at Otago Hospital and University, but his visa is running out. He had a property here in Gisborne but to be able to stay here in the hope of getting his citizenship, he sold up and moved to Dunedin. He wants to come back to Gisborne and we all know how bad cancer rates are here.

I have asked MP for East Coast Anne Tolley to question Immigration NZ and have given her William McCallum’s details. William is a highly-valued, expert physician who New Zealand needs badly. I do hope Immigration NZ gets its priorities right in this case.

Alain Jorion, Patient Ambassader, Lung Foundation NZ

Our country has the second highest cancer rate in the world, after Australia. Pharmac, which has complete control over funding of medicinal drugs, seems to be floundering around essential decisions on immunotherapy drugs that save and extend people’s lives. With nearly one in two people getting cancer in their lifetimes, this is so bad.

New Zealand needs expertise from overseas to show the way and inform Pharmac over how and which drugs are performing. As a cancer sufferer myself, who never smoked, I was treated by a world leader from Houston America right here in Gisborne. He had worked for some years in cancer treatments at Palmerston North. He advised what to do here and this is why I am probably still alive now.

This Labour Government is probably the first in power where the value of immunotherapy drugs is really clear and in the news. We need leadership because this immunotherapy drug expert is not getting anywhere with his New Zealand citizenship application with Immigration NZ.

William McCallum wants to keep working here, saving lives. And oh, do we need him here. Meantime, he is teaching doctors at Otago Hospital and University, but his visa is running out. He had a property here in Gisborne but to be able to stay here in the hope of getting his citizenship, he sold up and moved to Dunedin. He wants to come back to Gisborne and we all know how bad cancer rates are here.

I have asked MP for East Coast Anne Tolley to question Immigration NZ and have given her William McCallum’s details. William is a highly-valued, expert physician who New Zealand needs badly. I do hope Immigration NZ gets its priorities right in this case.

Alain Jorion, Patient Ambassader, Lung Foundation NZ

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Jake, Hamilton - 3 months ago
It sounds like you're very confused on this topic. I note that nowhere did you mention that this 'immunotherapy drug expert' is a medical doctor, or medical professional of any description. If they were, they would surely be able to obtain a suitable job and visa.

You seem to equate applying for a visa with applying for citizenship. The two have very different requirements, and are processed by separate government departments. In either case, neither department differentiates between Gisborne and Dunedin when assessing applications. The 'world leader' you speak of most likely moved for other reasons, such as job availability, which seems to undercut your argument that he is a professional much-needed in Gisborne.

It's worrying that you are wasting your MP's time with this kind of case when you seem to know very little about the substantive facts or processes. I would have hoped that representatives of non-profit organisations would be a bit better informed when publicising views.

Philip Hope - 2 months ago
Kia ora
This topic is not one Lung Foundation New Zealand has made any statement on, nor is it appropriate for us to do so. Lung Foundation NZ's mission is to increase survival for lung cancer. We have three key goals (these are also advocacy priorities): promote lung health, promote early diagnosis of lung disease and reduce lung cancer deaths.
Alain Jorion has stage-four lung cancer for which there is no cure and we admire his courage to raise awareness and raise expectations for improving treatment and care of lung cancer. However, Alain's role as a patient ambassador for LFNZ does not extend to the topic contained in his letter to the editor.
Speaking of current issues, LFNZ has published a response to the Government's cancer plan released on Sunday, September 1. Here is a link to our statement:
https://lungfoundation.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/2019-Monday-2nd-September-Response-to-the-Cancer-Plan-by-Lung-Foundation-New-Zealand-Inc..pdf
Nga mihi nui
Philip Hope (chief executive, Lung Foundation NZ)

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