Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has today released a new plan which will help further improve radiation oncology services around the country.
“While cancer is New Zealand’s leading cause of death, outcomes for people with cancer continue to improve. In 2011, 63 per cent of cancer patients survived five years after diagnosis, up from 57 per cent in 1999,” says Dr Coleman.
“Kiwis are receiving better, faster cancer treatment and more support during their care as a result of the Government’s $63 million faster cancer treatment programme.
“We know there are variations in the delivery of radiation therapy across the country. While some variation is normal, there is room for improvement.
“The new National Radiation Oncology Plan 2017-2021 will help DHBs standardise the care they are providing to patients receiving radiation.
“The plan sets out a range of actions for public radiation oncology providers, the Ministry, regional cancer networks and other agencies to improve radiation oncology sector performance over the next four years.”
Twelve linear accelerators have been approved since 2009. These machines are helping to deliver cancer patients with timely radiation therapy, though the treatment varies between DHBs from 28 to 44 per cent.
The National Radiation Oncology Plan 2017-2021 is guided by the New Zealand Cancer Plan 2015-2018: Better, Faster Cancer Care, the Cancer Health Information Strategy and the New Zealand Health Strategy.
It builds on the Radiation Oncology National Linear Accelerator and Workforce Plan, which was released in 2014 and was the country's first dedicated national radiation oncology plan.
Both reports are available on the Ministry of Health website, www.health.govt.nz