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Plan for stronger oncology services

Hon Tony Ryall
Minister of Health

20 June 2014

Plan for stronger oncology services

The country’s first national radiation oncology plan has been released today to ensure the cancer workforce and technology keeps up with the country's growing and ageing population.

Health Minister Tony Ryall says the Ministry of Health expects the total number of people with cancer to increase by almost a third in the next decade.

“We want to ensure New Zealanders continue to receive high quality oncology services in the future and that those who need radiation therapy, will get it in a timely way,” says Mr Ryall.

“This plan will help district health boards (DHBs) plan their future radiation oncology service and capacity needs through until 2022. It will be updated regularly so it remains a relevant planning tool,” says Mr Ryall.

“The Radiation Oncology National Linear Accelerator and Workforce Plan looks at the projected growth in cancer numbers, its implications for linear accelerators, the number of radiation oncologists, medical physicists and radiation therapists needed, along with the cost.

“There are some challenges, and DHBs will need to do some innovative thinking to ensure they make the very best use of available resources.

“This plan provides a range of scenarios, which will enable DHBs to assess the needs of their populations and make decisions around how best to provide radiation treatment at both a local and regional level in future," Mr Ryall says.

New Zealand has six DHB cancer centres and there are private radiation therapy units in Auckland and Christchurch. An additional private service is opening in Tauranga this year to serve both publicly funded and private patients.

Under this National-led government ten new linear accelerators have been approved for public hospitals since 2009.

The plan can be downloaded from the Ministry of Health website.

ENDS

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