Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Bulge in waiting times for radiation therapy

27 March 2001 Media Statement

Bulge in waiting times for radiation therapy

Health Minister Annette King says latest Ministry of Health figures confirm an expected bulge in the number of patients waiting for cancer radiation treatment.

Mrs King said health officials expected a bulge in cancer treatment waiting lists in 2001 and 2002 because of increased demand for services, lack of planning in the past, a worldwide shortage of experienced staff, and aging hospital equipment.

Figures to the end of February show 53.4 percent of patients needing radiation therapy started treatment on time, while 16.5 percent had to wait four to six weeks and 30 percent had to wait more than six weeks. A year ago, the figures showed 75 percent of patients starting treatment on time, 17.5 percent waiting four to six weeks, and 7.5 percent more than six weeks.

"The increase in demand has arisen because new techniques and technology mean previously untreatable cancers can now be successfully treated. People who previously would have died from their cancers are now being treated."

Mrs King said the Ministry had increased funding for radiation therapy treatments by 14 percent to $31.9 million, compared with $27.1 million last year. Waikato District Health Board had also been flying acute patients to Australia for treatment, and a new linear accelerator was now up and running in Waikato.

"Another three linear accelerators are being commissioned to replace aging machines in Auckland, Palmerston North and Dunedin. The Ministry has also increased funding for radiation oncology training at the University of Otago, with the radiation therapist class size up 17 to 28 students.

"The trouble is, training therapists takes several years. Recruitment drives for radiation therapists, medical physicists and radiation oncologists have produced positive results, however, and it is expected the bulge will stabilise in the middle of this year, and then gradually improve. Waiting times are similar or worse elsewhere in the world because of increased demand and staff shortages.

"I was greatly encouraged last week when 18 representatives from the country's six oncology units met in Wellington and formed a Cancer Treatment Working Party in a bid to bring waiting lists down. We can only deal with this problem by the Government and the sector working together."


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Scoop 3.0: How You Can Help Scoop’s Evolution

Entering into its third decade of operation, the Scoop news ecosystem is set to undergo another phase of transformation and evolution.

We have big plans for 2018 as we look to expand our public interest journalism coverage, upgrade our publishing infrastructure and offer even more valuable business tools to commercial users of Scoop. More>>


Speaking Of Transport: Public Engagement On Wellington Scenarios

“Our work on possible solutions for Wellington’s transport future is ongoing, but has progressed to the stage where we’re ready to share our ideas with the public and seek their feedback to help guide our next steps...” More>>


Parental Leave: National's Time-Sharing Change Fails

National has proposed a change to the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Amendment Bill that would allow both parents to take paid parental leave at the same time, if that is what suits them best. More>>


Train Free Thursday: Workers Strike To Defend Terms Of Employment

"They signed up to these conditions a year ago when they got the contract for Wellington's rail services. Now they're trying to increase profits by squeezing frontline workers." More>>


Seclusion: Ombudsman Emphasises Importance Of Monitoring

Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero says that while there have been changes to the Education (Update) Amendment Act 2017 to prohibit the use of seclusion, the report is an important reminder of the importance of regular monitoring of schools. More>>


United Future History: "All Good Things Must End"

'We’re extremely proud of what we’ve achieved over the past 15 years, working alongside the government of the day, both National and Labour.' Mr Light told members on Monday. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The TPP Outcome, And The Hobbit Law

Somehow the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal has come lurching back from the dead – and as predicted in this column last week, the member countries gathered in Vietnam have announced a deal in broad principle, shunted aside until a later date the stuff on which they don’t agree, and declared victory. More>>

Agreeing To Differ: Greens Maintain Opposition To TPPA
“The Green Party has long opposed the TPPA. The new proposed deal, which came out of the weekend’s talks, still contains key ISDS concessions to corporations that put our democracy at risk, so our position remains the same,” said Green Party trade spokesperson Golriz Ghahraman. More>>


Monitoring Report: A New Chapter For Children’s Rights In New Zealand?

The Children’s Commissioner is calling on the country to embrace children’s rights to ensure their overall well-being. More>>





Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election