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DHBs Agree To Fund HDR Brachytherapy

DHBs Agree To Fund HDR Brachytherapy

HDR Brachytherapy treatment will be available at Wellington Hospital from the beginning of next year, now that all District Health Boards have agreed on a funding strategy.

At a joint DHB Chief Executives’ meeting yesterday, agreement was reached between the DHBs over how the country’s brachytherapy services would be established.

Waikato DHB, which already has HDR brachytherapy equipment on site in Hamilton, will begin treating cancer patients from 1 July 2006. Capital & Coast DHB will be able to offer the treatment from 1 January 2007 – allowing time to purchase, import and install the brachytherapy equipment, as well as train staff in its use.

C&C DHB Chief Executive Margot Mains said the introduction of brachytherapy at Wellington Hospital was a significant coup for the DHB.

“Making this treatment available means we will not only be able to treat cervical cancer patients, as we have done in the past with previous low-dose brachytherapy equipment, but we can now also extend the service to treat men with prostate cancer.

“Our patients will receive a much more comprehensive service that will lead to improved outcomes, and alongside Waikato DHB we will be able to cater for patients from all around the country who cannot get this level of treatment in their local centre,” Ms Mains said.

The cost of purchasing and installing the equipment at Wellington is about $2 million, but it incurs an annual maintenance and running cost of about $1.5 million.

Each DHB has agreed how much funding it will provide, based on the estimated number of patients likely to be referred for treatment in Hamilton or Wellington.


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