Mission Statement

"To be a national multi-disciplinary focus for the support, promotion and advancement of psychosocial oncological developments amongst the range of health professionals working within, or supporting, oncology and palliative care services in New Zealand."


Health care professionals in all disciplines who provide support for cancer patients and their families include components of psychosocial care within their scope of practice. The clinical experience of some health professionals and the formal training of those from social work, counselling, psychiatry and psychology may mean their input currently provides the framework for existing psychosocial support. The Group aims to define the fundamental requirements and standards for practice in psychosocial oncology. The further development of this work by health professionals will establish psychosocial oncology is an integral part of cancer care in New Zealand.

The patient and family as defined by the patient are considered to for the basic unit of care in psychosocial oncology, and psychosocial care embraces the cancer patients’ continuum from diagnosis to after survival or death.

There is increased awareness of the load carried by patients and families who may be managing cancer as a chronic and/or life-threatening illness – living with cancer and its social consequences requires major adaptation from patients and families.

PONZ supports provision of services that consider the total care of the cancer patient.


  • To advocate for the integration of multi-disciplinary psychosocial care and support as an essential component of all cancer care.
  • To provide a forum for discussion of national and international psycho-oncology practice, research and development, using networks of interested health professionals.
  • To develop recommendations for the provisions of services and care through all phases of the cancer trajectory, using well researched and evaluated national and international models of good practice.
  • To ensure patient and family participation in the identification and development of all phases of oncology care and service provision addressing psychological, psychosocial and physical issues.
  • To advocate for the assessment of psychosocial, psychological and informational needs and requirements at the time of diagnosis and subsequent intervals throughout the disease trajectory.
  • To advocate and support the requirement for research and evaluation of all facets of psycho-oncology development and practice.
  • To advocate and support the development of a multi-disciplinary psycho-oncology educational programme for health professionals providing oncology services.
  • To promote the development of a national framework for the provision of services that address the ethical and culturally appropriate issues and concerns of patients and their families during their experience of cancer care.