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Cancer patients pay price for ideology

Dr Lynda Scott
National Health Spokeswoman
12 May 2004

Cancer patients pay price for ideology

More and more patients are being sent to Australia for private radiation therapy treatment as Labour fails to deal with the crisis in care, says National's Health spokeswoman, Dr Lynda Scott

We have already sent 77 cancer patients to Australia this year for treatment, when in the whole of 2003 we sent only 67.

Dr Scott says Labour's failure has seen a short-term solution turn into a long-term furore. This has put significant stress on patients and the families they are separated from.

"We could treat 2-3 times as many patients in New Zealand if Labour would drop its ideological bent and allow for more private involvement. Instead of developing private-public partnerships, this Government insists on public provisions only.

"It's ironic that while the Government refuses to use our private hospitals they are happy to use private hospitals in Australia.

"Jeopardising peoples health with such irresponsible spending of precious health dollars is appalling.

"The idea of sending patients to Australia was sold to the public as a short-term answer to growing cancer patient waiting lists, but it is fast becoming a painful and costly long-term policy," says Dr Scott.


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