News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


Latest Oncology Waiting Times - June

Media Statement

20 August 2002

Latest Oncology Waiting Times - June

Latest radiation treatment statistics released by the Ministry of Health today show a sharp reduction in waiting times for people treated in June compared with previous months.

Ministry of Health spokesman Dr Rob Buist said out of the six cancer centres, Auckland, MidCentral, Canterbury and Otago, all reported improved waiting times.

"The most striking improvement was in the largest cancer centre, Auckland, where just two percent of patients waited more than six weeks for radiation treatment, compared with 27 percent in May and 59 percent in January.

Auckland, which referred 70 patients for treatment to Australia over the past year, is now able to treat patients in the region.

Dr Buist said to date, delays in cancer treatment throughout New Zealand have mainly occurred in the period of time between assessment by a radiation oncology specialist, and starting radiation treatment.

"These delays were due to a shortage of radiation therapists."

However, in Waikato, delays in cancer treatment have mainly occurred in the period of time between referral for treatment, and assessment by a radiation oncology specialist.

"The total time from referral to treatment was up to 15 weeks for some patients and the delays were due to a shortage of oncologists."

The Ministry of Health is concerned about the issue and is discussing with the New Zealand Cancer Treatment Working Party the feasibility of all cancer centres routinely providing the Ministry with statistics on the time between referral and assessment in addition to the statistics on the time between assessment and treatment.

Waikato District Health Board has started providing the Ministry with both sets of statistics.

Waikato referred nine patients to Australia for treatment last month to help relieve the pressure.

"Auckland is also working with Waikato District Health Board examining ways in which it can help relieve pressure in Waikato until three newly recruited oncologists start in about four months time. "

Dr Buist said all of New Zealand's cancer centres had been working to capacity. He acknowledged the effort which saw some staff working long hours over extended periods. This had led to an overall improvement in waiting times for radiation treatment. However, he cautioned that for some time, waiting times would be sensitive to small changes in staffing levels.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health has extended the programme of referral of selected patients to Australia to help relieve pressure on the New Zealand system until the current recruitment and training initiatives provide a more sustainable solution.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Emerald Fennell's Promising Young Woman'

The Guardian needed not one, but three reviews to do justice to Fennell's unsettling approach, which indicates exactly how ambiguous and controversial its message really is. More>>

Howard Davis: Jill Trevelyan's Rita Angus

Although Angus has become one of Aotearoa’s best-loved painters, the story of her life remained little known and poorly understood before Jill Trevelyan's acclaimed and revelatory biography, which won the Non Fiction Award at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2009, and has now been republished by Te Papa press. More>>

Howard Davis: The Back of the Painting

Painting conservators are the forensic pathologists of the art world. While they cannot bring their subjects back to life, they do provide fascinating insights into the precise circumstances of a painting's creation, its material authenticity, and constructive methodology. More>>

Howard Davis: Black Panthers on the Prowl

A passionate and gripping political drama from Shaka King, this is an informative and instructive tale of human frailty that centers around the charismatic Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, who was murdered at the age of twenty-one during a police raid. More>>

Howard Davis: Controlling the High Ground

Stephen Johnson's raw and angry film not only poses important questions with scrupulous authenticity, but also provides a timely reminder of the genocidal consequences of casual bigotry and xenophobia. More>>

Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>

Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland