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Patients suffer as radiation therapists seek jobs

Hon Tony Ryall
National Party Health Spokesman

14 December 2006

Cancer patients suffer as radiation therapists search for jobs

Cancer sufferers are being forced to wait for radiation treatment, while newly trained radiation therapists are being forced to leave the country to find jobs, says National’s Health spokesman, Tony Ryall.

“It shows appalling incompetence by Labour. Not only do seriously ill patients have to queue up for months - now the very people who can treat them have to wait in line for jobs - or just head off to Australia.

“It’s bizarre!”
Mr Ryall is commenting after news that waiting times for radiation therapy at Palmerston North Hospital have stretched to 18 weeks - more than four times the recommended wait.

“This is completely unacceptable and is putting lives at risk. Imagine being told you need radiation treatment today but you can’t get it until the middle of April.

“Cancer sufferers may have to wait even longer if radiation therapists decide to strike. They currently have a ban on overtime and their pay talks are going nowhere.

“How long will Labour allow cancer patients to suffer like this?
“Cancer sufferers in many parts of New Zealand are waiting well over the recommended wait of four weeks. This is not best practice.”

Mr Ryall has been speaking to radiation therapy graduates, who say they can-not find permanent jobs in New Zealand.

“One way to get more people treated is to employ all our radiation therapist graduates.

“This is yet another example of Labour’s poor workforce policies colliding with its hopeless industrial relations approach, and patients suffer yet again.”

ENDS

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