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Govt policy forces cancer patients across Tasman

Govt policy forces more cancer patients across the Tasman

More cancer patients are being forced to cross the Tasman for treatment when a change in the Government's policy would allow people to be treated here, says National's Health spokeswoman Dr Lynda Scott.

Auckland District Health Board is sending up to 120 cancer patients to Australia for treatment as staff shortages hit the region. This comes on the back of health authorities in Christchurch, Wellington and Waikato sending patients offshore for treatment.

"The Government's refusing point blank to use private health systems to allow the development of public private partnerships which would ease cancer waiting lists," says Dr Scott.

"Labour's blinded by ideology and New Zealanders are suffering because of it.

"Public private partnerships would mean treatment machines could be used to full capacity, and more specialists and radiation therapists would be attracted to the industry. And with better pay and conditions in the private sector therapists would be more likely to stay in New Zealand," says Dr Scott.

"It's a huge waste of health funding to pay up to $20,000 to send a patient to Australia for treatment when we could do the same job here for around $5,000.

"In the long run it's a lot easier on patients and cheaper to send them across town for treatment, rather than across the Tasman.

"It's essential patients get timely access to treatment, but sending them across the Tasman adds enormous stress for them and their families.

"The Minister must get over her ideological mental block and stop more patients suffering unnecessarily," says Dr Scott

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