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Latest Radiation Oncology Treatment Waiting Times

10 January 2002

The radiation treatment statistics for this last month show little change from previous months.

Ministry of Health spokesperson Dr Andrew Holmes said the situation hasn't improved but it doesn't appear to have deteriorated either.

In Waikato two patients had to wait longer than six weeks for radiation in November compared with six in October, Ministry of Health figures revealed today.

In Canterbury 23 patients had to wait longer than six weeks for radiation treatment in November compared with 37 in October.

A total of 585 patients began their treatment in November with 315 waiting less than four weeks for treatment, 86 waiting four to six weeks for treatment and 184 waiting longer than six weeks.

Dr Holmes said that the nine or ten additional radiotherapists beginning in Auckland in February should reduce waiting times and it was expected that the situation would then begin to improve.

"Treating patients in Australia is making a small but significant improvement to the situation."

So far 36 patients have started radiation therapy in Australia and some of those patients have already completed their treatment. A further 26 people have been confirmed to start treatment within the next six weeks. These patients have been co-ordinated through New Zealand cancer centres.

"The Ministry is most grateful for the dedication shown by cancer centre staff and the understanding shown by patients," Dr Holmes said.

"I empathise with patients and their families whose treatment is outside the minimum standards and wish to assure the public that those patients in most urgent need are being treated quickly."

ENDS

Oncology megavoltage treatment waiting time returns November 2001

During the period 1 to 30 November, 315 patients on the radiation treatment waiting list started treatment on time, 270 patients waited longer than 4 weeks for treatment after the decision to treat. Of those waiting longer than 4 weeks, 184 (68 percent) had waited longer than 6 weeks.


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