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Photo: Getty Images
PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
Cancer patients in the South are continuing to receive treatment in local hospitals, and the Southern District Health Board is considering continuing to outsource treatment to Christchurch despite the Alert Level 4 lockdown.

Southern cancer diagnosis and treatment waiting lists have been at record levels in recent months, partly driven by cancers going undetected and untreated during the first Covid-19 lockdown.

Recently, the SDHB signed an agreement for St George’s Hospital, in Christchurch, to treat up to 200 breast and prostate cancer patients, and it is also trialling sending some patients to Wellington.

SDHB women’s and children’s medicine general manager Simon Donlevy said patients who were already receiving care in Christchurch were continuing to be treated.

"We are working with these patients to ensure this can occur safely while we are in Alert Level 4.

"We are also working with St George’s around the possibility of referring new patients to them at this time."

For now, oncology services, including treatment, are continuing to operate at SDHB hospitals.

Level 4 might be a boon for under-pressure cancer services, as the SDHB is considering expanding services while hospital services, other than emergency departments, are generally quieter than usual.

"We are also looking are looking to continue to maximise our capacity in Southern DHB," Mr Donlevy said.

"That includes the utilisation of weekend clinics, when possible, to minimise the impact of the changes in alert levels on our wait times."

mike.houlahan@odt.co.nz

Comments

It is good to hear from the hospitals during covid otherwise the business community tends to portray that they are the key affected players and determinants as to effects and tolerances for Covid in our communities. Covid is an infectious disease as such infection control within the medical and patient sector of health management compounds the difficulties of each step of the medical care for the patient,clinician and medical systems. The ramifications are far more than a just Covid deaths whilst Covid reigns strong as a bug.

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