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Minister Must Come Clean Over Service Loss

Minister Must Come Clean Over Service Loss

ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy today demanded that Health Minister Annette King come clean about her plans for cancer treatment centres in New Zealand, in the wake of reports that Wellington Hospital is in danger of losing its cervical cancer services.

"If the Minister's intention is to nationalise cancer services, she should come clean, and make a formal announcement so that re-development of Wellington Hospital can proceed, and decisions can be made in an informed manner," Mrs Roy said.

"Wellington Hospital currently offers the less efficient low-dose brachytherapy, which is gradually being replaced by more efficient treatment. But the question remains as to whether the new hospital will have any cervical cancer facilities at all.

"Wellington Hospital Gynaecological Specialist Dr Dynes McConnell has said that the new development does not include space for brachytherapy. He is adamant that treatment must be available locally - either the existing service, or more modern facilities. He believes that Wellington women should not be deprived of local access to treatment altogether.

"Having spent considerable time and effort establishing links with neighbouring hospitals, Dr McConnell is understandably frustrated by Ms King's lack of direction.

"The Minister must come clean to Wellington medical professionals, like Dr McConnell, over her intentions toward the future of cancer services in New Zealand. If nationalisation is her aim, she must say so.

"If Wellington is to be deprived of this service, the Minister must publicly say so. She must then step aside, to allow the private sector the opportunity to offer these essential services to the community," Mrs Roy said.

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