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Scheme for cancer treatment in Australia unfair

Roger Sowry National Health Spokesperson

23 November 2001

Scheme for cancer treatment in Australia unfair

Cancer patients who've paid for their own radiation treatment in Australia to avoid long waiting lists in New Zealand are being unfairly penalised, National's Health spokesperson Roger Sowry said today.

"The Minister of Health's decided to only reimburse those patients who went to Australia for radiation treatment after September 6. We've been calling on the Government to pay for the treatments in Australia all year, but this arbitrary decision to only reimburse those patients who commenced their treatment after September 6 is unfair.

"People who commenced treatment before then and have paid for it themselves are being treated cruelly by this decision.

"Today's story of an Auckland woman who's missed out on reimbursement is an horrific example. There are many others who have gone across the Tasman at their own expense for radiation treatment to avoid New Zealand's long waiting lists.

"All patients who have gone to Australia for treatment because they were told they couldn't be treated within the clinical guideline time here should be reimbursed.

"We have been contacted by women affected who can't see the justification. I will be taking up the case for those women who have missed out on reimbursement," Mr Sowry.


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