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Govt Denies It Denied Cancer Patients Treatment

16 May 2002

Govt Denies It Denied Mid Central Cancer Patients Treatment

It is clear from the Government's answers in Parliament today that the left hand does not know what the right is doing in health, National Health Spokesperson Roger Sowry said today.

The Government has allowed reimbursement of Mid Central Health cancer patients if they have their treatment bought forward by going to Australia for treatment, after pressure from National in Parliament and the media this week.

"Today in Parliament Associate Health Minister Ruth Dyson denied the Government has stopped Mid Central Health patients from going to Australia for early treatment for the past six months when it was reimbursing patients from the three other North Island cancer centres for their treatment in Australia.

"Her denial is all the more surprising when Dr Andrew Holmes from the Ministry of Health is quoted as saying that only patients from Auckland, Waikato and Wellington qualified for the treatment, and when Mid Central Health's November request to the Ministry to also send patients to Australia was ignored.

"Ruth Dyson is way behind the eight ball, but a series of documents show that the Government has procrastinated for six months on this serious issue, potentially endangering patients' lives. While a teleconference call claimed that there would be equity of access to radiation services for patients it is notable that Mid Central health was excluded from this call.

"It is pleasing the Government has finally backed down on its charade so that Mid Central patients waiting many months for treatment will now have the opportunity to receive treatment within the four week clinical guideline time or at least much closer to it," Mr Sowry said.

Ends

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