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Extent of cancer waiting lists revealed

Wyatt Creech National Health Spokesperson

Wednesday 15 November 2000

Extent of cancer waiting lists revealed

Cancer waiting lists have ballooned ten-fold in some cases since the Labour Government came to power, National Health spokesperson Wyatt Creech revealed today.

"The extent of the waiting lists for cancer treatment is shocking. The Health Minister must explain why waiting lists have been left to blow out and what action she has taken to fix them.

"I am releasing figures today showing the number of people waiting for cancer treatment has sky-rocketed in the past 11 months.

"This growth in numbers has happened despite Annette King's constant claim on the hustings that she would cut waiting lists.

"We've heard the stories about people having to go to Australia for cancer treatment - but these figures reveal how bad the problem is.

"In Auckland the number of people waiting for more than 6 weeks for radiation treatment was just 18 in November last year - and now 69 people have to wait that long. That's a 250% increase.

"And last year 70% of people starting treatment in Auckland got it on time. That's dropped to just 40% today.

"In the Waikato only 4 people were waiting more than 6 weeks for treatment - under Labour there's 27 people waiting - a 575% increase.

"In Christchurch 2 were waiting in 1999 and now 24 are - that's a more than ten -fold increase.

"In Wellington there's been a big increase in the number of people waiting 4-6 weeks for care. The number waiting is up from 1 to 31.

"Helen Clark and Annette King made a solemn pledge to cut waiting lists. These figures make a complete mockery of that pledge. The Health Minister must explain to the patients and their families, and the rest of New Zealand why she has let these waiting lists blow out," Mr Creech said.


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