INDEPENDENT NEWS

Fewer Patients Get Cancer Treatment

Published: Wed 6 Jun 2001 11:53 AM
Latest figures show the number of people starting cancer treatment on time fell 13 percent in the month to April, despite continued promises from the Government that it will reduce cancer patient waiting times, National's Health spokesperson Roger Sowry said today.
"The statistics show nation-wide 249 people were still waiting more than six weeks for treatment in April, and increases in the number of people waiting four to six weeks and waiting more than four weeks for treatment. "Across the country the number of people starting treatment dropped significantly, by 80 to 507, while 57 fewer people started treatment on time. Collectively across five centres - Auckland, Hamilton, Palmerston North, Christchurch and Dunedin - 92 fewer people started treatment.
"Wellington waiting times in particular took a leap and this is a big concern when this area has shown the best oncology waiting time records for some time.
"Palmerston North has paid the price for two of its radiotherapists going to help out Auckland's crisis. Significantly fewer patients in Palmerston started treatment and started treatment on time. The numbers also dropped in Auckland.
"In Dunedin the number starting treatment on time almost halved while the number waiting four to six weeks trebled.
"These figures confirm the concerns of radiotherapy workers who said earlier this year that the waiting lists would get worse before they got better.
"Annette King and this Government promised they would work hard to reduce waiting times but they are not delivering on that commitment.
"The Minister needs to stop hiding behind her failure to address this problem and admit that hospitals are inadequately staffed and resourced to improve cancer patient waiting times," Mr Sowry said.
Ends

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