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Cancer stats being hidden from the public

Cancer stats being hidden from the public

National says the Government is hiding cancer waiting time statistics which show that women are waiting several months for radiation treatment they need to get within a month.

National Health Spokesperson Dr Lynda Scott says she's been trying to get the latest cancer waiting time figures from the Ministry of Health for several months but it won't release them.

"There are no official figures since December last year, but we know in Canterbury women with breast cancer are waiting up to 14 weeks for radiation treatment, waiting 12 weeks in the lower North Island and eight weeks in the Waikato," Dr Scott said.

"While the Government has spent more than $2m on sending patients to Australia for radiation treatment, it's hiding the growing waiting times which are causing this.

"Getting the figures has been a continual problem since the Ministry introduced publishing the figures on a website last year.

"Previously National was given monthly figures. We monitored these closely and bought the growing waiting times to the public's attention. Now the Government is hiding these figures by refusing to publish them.

"There are no figures for the first three months of this year. In February after our complaints, the Ministry finally put the figures for September to December 2002 on the website. However the figures were incomplete and still are. "I am continuing to write to the Minister of Health asking her why these statistics are being hidden from the public. I can only assume that they show embarrassingly longer waits for more and more people," Dr Scott said.

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