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Latest Oncology Waiting Times

The number of patients who had to wait more than six weeks for cancer radiation treatment dropped by 59 percent in February compared with January figures, latest oncology waiting times show.

Ministry of Health spokesperson Dr Andrew Holmes said the Ministry and cancer treatment services were continuing to work hard to reduce the length of time patients wait for cancer treatment.

"February figures show the number of people who faced waits of more than six weeks in Auckland, Waikato, Wellington and Canterbury has decreased since January."

"While it is good the situation has improved in some areas this didn't mean that waiting times are satisfactory yet or that this is a trend that will be sustained."

February's figures also show more than half, 52 percent, of all patients treated with radiation for cancer waited less than four weeks.

"Waiting times change from month to month but we are pleased there has been an overall improvement. Urgent cases continue to receive priority for treatment."

Dr Holmes said the statistics had to be interpreted with caution.

"Canterbury's volumes are low for February as one of its linear accelerator machines had broken down. The machine is now fixed. In Waikato's case, the information does not include the time patients wait for their first specialist assessment."

Dr Holmes said there had been a delay in releasing February's oncology waiting times as Auckland's cancer centre was in the middle of an upgrade to their information system.

ENDS

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