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Cancer sufferers look offshore again

Hon Tony Ryall
National Party Health Spokesman

7 June 2006

Cancer sufferers look offshore again

Some Auckland cancer patients have had their treatment cancelled indefinitely because of a strike by radiation therapists due to start on Friday, says National's Health spokesman, Tony Ryall.

“Some patients are looking at the option of going overseas for treatment because delay can be a death sentence,” says Mr Ryall.

Radiation therapists across the country will begin a two-and-a-half day strike on Friday, which will see treatment cancelled or disrupted for hundreds of patients.

"In Auckland alone, 300 patients face having their treatment rescheduled in the weeks following the strike.

"But the ‘snowball effect’ of this strike, followed later in the week by a possible strike by junior doctors, means at least 50 Auckland cancer patients have been sent letters cancelling their treatment start dates altogether, with no sign of another date available.

“They have been told that another treatment start date will be advised ‘in due course’.

"National understands that the ‘snowball effect’ will see some cancer patients waiting a further three to four weeks to get another treatment start date.

“This will put many patients beyond the date when radiation therapy should start to give them the best chance. These are life-threatening delays, and a huge psychological blow to patients who were promised treatment.

"This industrial chaos is yet another indication that the health system is breaking down under Labour.

“Week by week there are new symptoms of Labour's waste and mismanagement in health,” says Mr Ryall.


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