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Cancer patients forced to wait for Cunliffe’s nod

Tony Ryall MP
National Party Health Spokesman

18 January 2008

Cancer patients forced to wait for Cunliffe’s nod

National Party Health spokesman Tony Ryall says David Cunliffe should fast-track his approval for a new, long-delayed linear accelerator in the capital.

“The nine-year process has spanned the entire life of the Labour Government. If the Minister really is now ‘running the show’, he should give it the tick-off without further undue delay.”

Mr Ryall notes that the Health Ministry’s national expenditure committee has approved the funding, and he says now David Cunliffe should fast-track his involvement.

“How long does it take to read, receive and approve a recommendation that now has region-wide and Health Ministry agreement? Every day wasted is another day that another cancer patient could be receiving lifesaving treatment.”

Mr Ryall says a report done almost a year ago said that the lack of a third linear accelerator in Wellington had led to a situation where potentially curable patients were becoming incurable. National has been calling for this linear accelerator for some time.

“This morning, Health Minister David Cunliffe said he expected to receive a proposal on the life-saving equipment after a meeting next week. What is the purpose of the delay? He can’t seriously be thinking about declining it, can he?

“More worrying for the people of Wellington is the fact that health services have been allowed to deteriorate to such a state. The situation facing child cancer patients in the capital is still ‘diabolical’, according to the Cancer Society.

“How is it Labour can find the will and the way to recruit 10,000 bureaucrats, but cancer services have to stand in the queue for David Cunliffe’s attention?”


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