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King Speech: Opening Of Radiation Therapy Dept

1 May 2002 Speech Notes

Opening Of Radiation Therapy Department, Wellington School Of Medicine

Good morning and welcome to the official opening of the Radiation Therapy Department of the Wellington School of Medicine.
Congratulations to everyone who has had a role in establishing the course here, and congratulations also to the first group of graduates from this course who are about to receive their degrees.

I also want to use this opportunity to acknowledge the recent work of the Radiation Therapy Advisory Group and the New Zealand Cancer Treatment Working Party. I understand the Advisory Group played an especially valuable role in ensuring the move of training from the Central Institute of Technology was done with minimal disruption and without affecting the integrity of the course.

The new location and increased profile of the course is bearing results. I understand there has been a very encouraging response and in the first year the stage one programme has been fully subscribed.

I am also informed there are 38 trainees in stage one of this year’s programme – that’s good news for this school and good news for the wider sector.

Improving the delivery of radiation therapy services is a touchstone issue in health, and is especially important for public trust in the system. People – not unreasonably – expect help from the system when they need it most.

MRTs play a really important role in helping the public needing treatment, at what can be a very difficult time for people and their families.

While in some circumstances small delays may not be clinically significant, it is imperative we do every thing we can to reduce waiting times using available resources, and ensure people clearly understand when they will receive treatment.

Increasing the supply of MRT workers is an important part of this equation. Ensuring those people who start training also complete training is another step, as is encouraging New Zealand-trained people to choose to remain and work in New Zealand.

The system of linking students in the second and third years of training, with cancer centres is making an important contribution in this regard.

There are no easy or immediate solutions. However, it is clear that a robust, well-organised and high profile university course, like the programme offered at this school, is a significant contribution.

I also think that it is pertinent to remind ourselves about why people are choosing to train as MRT workers, as the high profile of the specialty in recent months is only part of the answer. Older values such as the wish to combine a vocation and a career, and to help people, remain important.

e should also keep in mind the advances in radiation therapy and the options we have that weren’t available to previous generations.

Again, congratulations and best wishes for the continuing success of the programme. You have already achieved a lot in a short time and I am sure you will over come many more hurdles in the future.

Your work has a wide importance to the community and I applaud you in your efforts. I am sure there will be many more skilled and proud graduates from this programme over the years.

Ends

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