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Latest Oncology Waiting Times

9 May 2002

Three-quarters of patients starting cancer treatment in March waited less than six weeks, latest oncology waiting time figures show.

Ministry of Health spokesperson Dr Andrew Holmes said it was encouraging to see the majority of people were waiting less than six weeks for treatment.

"It is an improvement on February's figures which show 63 percent of patients starting cancer treatment waited less than six weeks, which in turn was an improvement on January's figures which showed 58 percent waited less than six weeks."

"Waiting times change from month to month and we are pleased there appears to have been an overall improvement over the last three months. The indications are this trend will continue."

"The increasing number being treated within six weeks is a credit to cancer centre staff commitment to improving the situation for patients."

In March the cancer centres in Auckland, Mid Central, Wellington, Canterbury and Otago all recorded drops in the number of patients having to wait more than six weeks for treatment. The waits in Waikato show little change.

"The increase in the number of people starting treatment is what is required to further reduce waiting times, and we are working to ensure this continues."

Dr Holmes said the recent improvements in waiting times was also partly due to the success of the recent recruitment drive for radiation therapists which meant more positions were filled in cancer centres.

During March, 592 patients started treatment compared with 527 in February. About half of the increase occurred in Canterbury where machine failures in February reduced the number treated.

ENDS

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