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Green Light for Third Linear Accelerator

Hon David Cunliffe
Minister of Health

13 February 2008 Media Statement

Green Light for Third Linear Accelerator for Capital and Coast DHB

Minister of Health David Cunliffe has given final approval for a third linear accelerator to be located at Wellington Hospital.

The linear accelerator, which is a crucial tool for health professionals for treating cancer patients, will have a total cost of $4.9m, and will increase radiation treatment capacity within the Capital and Coast DHB catchment area.

The linear accelerator project will include:
- A third linear accelerator
- expansion of computerised treatment planning and treatment management systems
- patient positioning aids, treatment accessories, calibration and test equipment
- Additional permanent staff across the relevant professional groups to deal with extra patient workload
- Project staff for acceptance testing and clinical commissioning
- staff training
- Fit-out of the third bunker in the new hospital

"The planning for this project has been extensive. Linear accelerators are often the biggest single ticket items DHBs purchase and it's vital they fit within a clinically and financially sustainable radiation oncology service that is affordable to the DHB,” Mr Cunliffe said.

"We expect that the project delivers the levels of care expected from such a significant investment."

One of the aims of the project is to develop a formal national radiation oncology referral plan that minimises referrals to Australia and encourages maximum use of New Zealand facilities. This means ensuring we use New Zealand's cancer treatment resources fully before having to send patients overseas.

"We owe it to cancer patients to ensure that we appropriately balance the level of service we provide locally, nationally and internationally so that both treatment and disruption to patient's lives are managed as well as we can.

The more New Zealand cancer patients that are able to be adequately treated here, close to their support network at what is a difficult time, the better," Mr Cunliffe said.


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