News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 


Cancer Treatment Bulge - Recruitment New Equipment

2 May 2001

Recruitment and New Equipment in train to Counter Cancer Treatment Bulge

A co-ordinated recruitment drive and commissioning of new equipment are in place to help deal with a continuing bulge in the numbers of patients waiting for cancer radiation treatment, the Ministry of Health said today.

The Ministry and cancer treatment services predict the bulge in cancer treatment waiting lists to continue till June due to increased demand for services linked to a worldwide shortage of experienced staff and aging equipment in some New Zealand hospitals.

Ministry Chief Medical Advisor Colin Feek said figures up to the end of March show that 56.7 percent of patients needing radiation therapy started their treatment on time (within four weeks of the decision to treat), while 20.8 percent had to wait four to six weeks and 22.3 percent had to wait more than six weeks.

A year ago, the figures were 75 percent of patients starting treatment on time, 17.5 percent waiting four to six weeks and 7.5 percent more than six weeks. There are no waiting lists for chemotherapy and hormone therapy used to treat cancer patients.

The increase in demand is because new techniques and technology mean that previously untreatable cancers can now be successfully treated. People who previously would have died from their cancers are now being treated, Dr Feek said.

As an immediate response to the bulge in waiting times, the Ministry of Health increased funding for radiation therapy treatments by 14 percent to $31.9 million - compared with $27.1 million last year.

Both the Ministry and cancer treatment services are working as well as they can to deal with the issue, Dr Feek said.

Auckland District Health Board has been advertising overseas for radiation therapists and any extra applicants would be referred to other cancer treatment centres in New Zealand.

Health Waikato has been flying acute patients to Australia for treatment and a new linear accelerator to provide radiation treatment is now up and running at Waikato Hospital. Another three linear accelerators are being commissioned to replace aging machines in Auckland, Palmerston North and Dunedin.

There is a time lag before linear accelerators are able to be used for treatment as they require special bunkers to be built and then time consuming calibrating of the machines to ensure appropriate doses are delivered accurately. Commissioning can take between four to eight months.

In the meantime radiation therapists are being flown from Palmerston North to Auckland to assist with the biggest numbers of patients requiring treatment.

The Ministry has also increased funding for radiation oncology training at the University of Otago, with the radiation therapist class size up 53 percent to 28 students, from 17 students previously. However, training radiation therapists takes several years and while recruitment drives for radiation therapists, medical physicists and radiation oncologists have produced positive results, the bulge in the number of patients waiting for radiation therapy is expected to stabilise in the middle of this year then gradually improve after that.

Waiting times for radiation treatment are similar or worse elsewhere in the world because of the worldwide increase in demand and shortage of trained staff.

The Ministry's approach to this issue includes coordinating cancer treatment services with a wider Cancer Control Strategy. Reducing the incidence and impact of cancer is one of the 13 priority objectives of the New Zealand Health Strategy and the coordinated approach being developed covers prevention, early detection, treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care.

For more information contact: Peter Abernethy, Communications Manager, ph: 04-496-2008, 025-477-036 Internet address: http://www.moh.govt.nz/media.html

Peter Abernethy Manager Communications Corporate & Information Directorate Ministry of Health DDI: 04 496 2008

mailto:peter_abernethy@moh.govt.nz

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Scoop Review Of Books: Salt River Songs by Sam Hunt

Colin Hogg, a longtime comrade of Sam, writes in his Introduction that, ‘There is a lot of death in this collection of new poems by my friend Sam Hunt. It’s easier to count the poems here that don’t deal with the great destroyer than it is to point to the ones that do.’ More>>

Electronica: Restoring The World’s First Recorded Computer Music

University of Canterbury Distinguished Professor Jack Copeland and UC alumni and composer Jason Long have restored the earliest known recording of computer-generated music, created more than 65 years ago using programming techniques devised by Alan Turing. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Almost Getting Away With Murder

The Black Widow by Lee-Anne Cartier: Lee-Anne Cartier is the sister of the Christchurch man found to have been murdered by his wife, Helen Milner, after an initial assumption by police that his death, in 2009, was suicide. More>>

Howard Davis: Triple Echo - The Malevich/Reinhardt/Hotere Nexus

Howard Davis: The current juxtaposition of works by Ralph Hotere and Ad Reinhardt at Te Papa perfectly exemplifies Jean Michel Massing's preoccupation with the transmigration of imagery in a remarkable triple echo effect... More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Nō Tāu Manawa

Vaughan Rapatahana responds to Fale Aitu | Spirit House by Tusiata Avi: "fa’afetai Tusiata, fa’afetai, / you’ve swerved & served us a masterclass corpus / through graft / of tears & fears..." More>>

9 Golds - 21 Medals: NZ Team Celebrates As Rio 2016 Paralympic Games Close

The entire New Zealand Paralympic Team, led by kiwi sprinter and double gold medallist Liam Malone as flag bearer, are on the bus to the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro for the Closing Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. There, they will celebrate the fantastic successes of the past 10 days. More>>

ALSO:

New Zealand Improv Festival: The Festival Of Moments To Return To The Capital

The eighth incarnation of the New Zealand Improv Festival comes to BATS Theatre this 4-8 October , with a stellar line-up of spontaneous theatre and instant comedy performed and directed by top improvisors from around New Zealand and the world. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news