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Private sector could ease cancer treatment problem

Private sector could ease huge cancer treatment problem

The Government needs to get over its ideological mental block against health partnerships between the private and public sector to address appalling cancer treatment waiting times, says National Health Spokesperson Dr Lynda Scott.

Reports today reveal that some cancer patients are waiting more than three months for radiation treatment, and that 28 percent of patients don't get treatment within the recommended guideline of four weeks. (Sunday Star Times)

"These figures are a disgrace. What the Government needs to do is open its eyes to how the private sector could help fund the much needed upgrades of linear accelerators, and ease lists of 500 to 600 people waiting for radiation treatment at a time.

"With 27 percent of all deaths coming from cancer the Government needs to take the treatment of it far more seriously. Utilising the private sector would mean treatment machines are used to full capacity, rather than lying idle, and more specialists and radiation therapists would be attracted to the industry.

"While more therapists are being trained, we'll lose them due to low pay rates. They'd get better pay if the private sector was involved.

"Sending patients to Australia has always been a temporary measure, but the Government now has to find permanent solutions because the public health system simply isn't coping with current demand.

"I'm pleased that these poor cancer stats are finally being exposed because the Government works hard to hide them by neglecting to put them regularly on its website. This information must be out there for the public to see and pressure the Government to address the problems," Dr Scott said.

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