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Latest Oncology Waiting Times

7 June 2002

The radiation treatment statistics for April show there is little change in waiting times compared with the March figures.

Ministry of Health spokesman Dr Andrew Holmes said as would be expected the radiation treatment statistics show there have been fluctuations in waiting time figures for each cancer centre. Overall however, there had been little change in the percentage of patients waiting less than six weeks for cancer treatment.

Seventy-two percent of patients starting cancer treatment around New Zealand in April waited less than six weeks. This is slightly down on last month's figures which show 75 percent of patients waited less than six weeks; but an improvement on the 63 percent recorded in February.

"Overall, the improvements seen over recent months have been sustained, more patients are being treated in New Zealand ,and fewer patients are being referred for treatment in Australia."

"Auckland's cancer centre has referred 72 patients to Australia since November 2001 and this has made a small but significant improvement to the New Zealand situation."

"It has freed up the equivalent of four months treatment from one fully staffed linear accelerator in New Zealand and now MidCentral and Waikato cancer centres are taking up the option of referring some patients to Australia to relieve pressure on their cancer centres."

In April, according to the radiation treatment statistics, cancer centres in Auckland and MidCentral recorded drops in the number of patients having to wait more than six weeks for treatment.

"The trend emerging at the Auckland cancer centre, New Zealand's largest, is particularly significant considering it is now no longer referring patients to Australia for treatment."

During April 659 patients started treatment compared with 592 in March, and 527 in February.


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