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Latest Radiation Oncology Treatment Waiting Times

The percentage of patients waiting less than four weeks for cancer treatment has fallen according to Ministry of Health figures released today.

The July figures show 58.3 percent of patients needing radiation therapy started their treatment on time (within four weeks of the decision to treat). June figures showed 59.9 percent of patients needing radiation therapy started their treatment on time.

Figures for July also show the number of patients waiting for treatment for less than four weeks in Hamilton and Palmerston North had dropped.

The number of patients waiting four to six weeks had dropped in Palmerston North and Christchurch and the number of patients waiting for more than six weeks had dropped in Hamilton and Dunedin.

Waiting times in other areas have increased slightly or remained steady.

The Ministry expects the pressure on cancer treatment waiting lists will continue for several more months until extra staff from a coordinated recruitment drive are in place. Until then waiting lists may continue to fluctuate.

Ministry Chief Medical Advisor Dr Colin Feek said there had been an increased demand for services linked to a worldwide shortage of experienced staff and the situation remains similar to that seen in previous months.

Dr Feek said the percentage of patients that had to wait between four and six weeks for treatment dropped from 15.7 in June to 15.1 in July. The percentage of patients that had to wait over six weeks rose from 24.3 in June to 26.5 in July.

Oncology megavoltage treatment waiting time returns as at 31 July 2001

As at 31 July, 285 patients on the radiation treatment waiting list had waited longer than 4 weeks for treatment after the decision to treat. Of those waiting longer then 4 weeks, 199(70 percent) had waited longer than 6 weeks.


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