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Cancer stats show desperation continues

Roger Sowry National Health Spokesperson

2 November 2001

Cancer stats show desperation continues

The latest cancer treatment statistics show fewer New Zealanders are starting cancer treatment each month and that the trend of cancer patients waiting longer than the recommended time continues, National's Health spokesperson Roger Sowry said today.

"The figures show that fewer people started treatment in September, where the number dropped by 56 to 291, from the previous month. Forty three percent of cancer patients are waiting longer than recommended by clinical guidelines.

"This continues the trend of the last six months of patients being left to wait months and more months for treatment, when the guideline states they should not be waiting longer than four weeks.

"Patients in Auckland have been waiting an unacceptable five months and those in Wellington up to four months.

"Before the last election Annette King promised she would reduce waiting times. The statistics rolling out every month she is in Government tell a different story.

"Today Annette King is leaving cancer patients untreated and confused. One minute the Government is negotiating funding agreements with district health boards so they can send patients to Australia for radiation treatment, the next minute there's no such scheme in place.

"National has been calling on the Government to set up a special fund to send patients to Australia all year.

"Annette King is not taking the desperate and escalating problem in cancer treatment seriously. The immediate solution is to send cancer patients to Australia, but the long term solution is to ensure that there are adequate staff and resources to treat patients right here in New Zealand," Mr Sowry said.

Ends


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