22 Feb GLIMMER OF HOPE AS D’ATH PLEDGES SUPPORT FOR CHEEK SWAB DONOR RECRUITMENT
Katter’s Australian Party Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter has used Question Time this morning to call on the Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath to take action on the issue of blood cancers and a shortfall in bone marrow transplants.
“With reference to shortages of blood stem cell donors in Australia, forcing thousands of blood cancer patients to receive life-saving bone marrow transplants from overseas,” he said in the House.
“Is the Minister committed to seeking agreement from all State and Federal Health Ministers at the upcoming ministerial meeting to address this and release the $12.8 million of existing funding for immediate, large-scale rollout of cheek swab registration for blood stem cell donors?
In her response, Ms D’Ath said she was committed to progressing the issue.
“Improving Australian blood stem cell and bone marrow donation capacity is a priority for Queensland Health and I do encourage all people who are eligible to consider being a donor,” the Minister said.
“All Australian governments are working closely on reform activities to make improvements under the National Haemopoietic Progenitor Cell (HPC) Framework, particularly relating to boosting Australia’s capacity of providing domestically-sourced stem cells.
“Since publication of the national HPAC Framework in October 2021, Queensland Health has been pursuing quick resolution of priority reform matters and has encouraged the Commonwealth to establish a national entity to oversee improvements to governance and financial arrangements within the sector.
“And encouraging the Clinical Advisory Group to prioritise its recommendations to resolve regulatory and accreditation considerations pertaining to the implementation of the buccal (cheek) swabs in Australia.
“In response to the Member’s question I can advise Queensland will offer its in principle support to rolling out swab testing; I support what is being sought here, pending the clinical advisory group’s advice – obviously we need to get the relevant health approvals to do that.
“I can also advise that I expect this matter to be discussed later this week.
“I am hosting the Health Ministers Meeting of the Commonwealth and all State and Territory Health Ministers, and this is intended to be discussed while we catch up with each other this week.”
Mr Katter, as well as his father Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter, have been ramping up pressure over recent months for the Federal Government to accelerate its decision on whether to extend a lifesaving program that recruits bone marrow donors via post.
This decision cannot be taken without the support of all State/Territory and Federal Health Ministers.
Mr Katter Jnr said he was hopeful of a good outcome by the end of the week.
Photo caption: Charters Towers couple Adam and Bonnie Black want more support to boost blood stem cell and bone marrow donation capacity following Ms Black’s leukaemia diagnosis.