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Sowry - still no clear treatment payouts criteria

Sowry - still no clear criteria for Australian radiation treatment payouts

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Roger Sowry National Health Spokesperson

27 November 2001

Still no clear criteria for Australian radiation treatment payouts The Health Minister has backed down on her earlier decision to only reimburse those cancer patients who commenced radiation treatment in Australia on or before 6 September 2001, says National's Health spokesperson Roger Sowry.

"Last week, the Minister told me that she would only reimburse those patients who went to Australia for radiation treatment after 6 September. Patients who commenced treatment before then, and paid for it themselves, were being treated cruelly by the Minister's decision.

"My office was contacted by a number of patients who had missed out on reimbursement, and we know that there are others who have gone across the Tasman at their own expense for radiation treatment to avoid New Zealand's long waiting lists.

"Today, it would seem that the Government has conceded it had made a mistake and would now reimburse patients on a case-by-case basis.

However, I am very concerned that there are still no clear criteria set down so people can determine whether they are eligible to have their costs reimbursed.

"I call on the Minister of Health to stop playing games with cancer patients. These people, who have already experienced significant stress due to their illness, do not need to waste precious time talking to bureaucrats who will make decisions on a case-by-case basis. The Minister should front up and tell people just who qualifies and who does not.

"I would urge any cancer patient who travelled to Australia for radiation treatment at their own expense and is now seeking reimbursement to contact me. I will take up their case with the Minister of Health," said Mr Sowry.

Ends


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