South Canterbury cancer patients are being sent to Dunedin
for treatment because of pressure on the Christchurch
Canterbury District Health Board chief executive David Meates
said eight South Canterbury patients had been referred to
Dunedin for radiation treatment since November.
Growing demand for cancer treatment in the upper South
Island, reduced Ministry of Health waiting times and more
sophisticated treatments had increased pressure on the
Southern District Health Board patient services director
Lexie O'Shea said the new linear accelerator installed last
year at Dunedin Hospital allowed the service to absorb extra
She said the Christchurch facility signalled late last year
it was ''unable to meet their current demand'', and the flow
of patients would continue until about 2018.
The hospital was also receiving a trickle of patients from
Australia, for a rare form of eye melanoma radiation
treatment, because of an equipment breakdown in Melbourne.
Since last August, three patients had been referred from
Australia to Dunedin, which was one of only six centres in
the world to perform the treatment.