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Aussies rescue Kiwi breast cancer patients

Hon Tony Ryall
National Party Health Spokesman

31 October 2006

Aussies rescue Kiwi breast cancer patients

Up to 30 New Zealand women will be sent to Australia for breast cancer treatment within the next few weeks, says National's Health spokesman, Tony Ryall.

"Auckland Hospital cancer services have reached crisis point with recent industrial action and growing staff shortages," says Mr Ryall.

"The decision was made last week to send approximately 30 women to Australia for treatment in the next few weeks, so each could be back before Christmas.

"Labour promised five years ago that they would stop this happening again. This crisis didn't occur overnight - it's been brewing for months and the Government has done nothing.

"Pete Hodgson needs to tell the country if sending cancer patients to Australia is to become a normal part of our health system.

"We support these women getting treatment urgently in Australia but sending cancer sufferers offshore for treatment is far from ideal. They are away from their families and support systems for weeks on end.

"It is only a matter of time before this happens again. There are pressure points throughout the system. The Government needs to deal with the industrial action and the workforce crisis facing so many of our country's hospitals.

"It's time for Minister of Health and Labour strategist Pete Hodgson to concentrate on his health portfolio instead of the pledge card scandal."

ENDS

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