Extra funding provides more high-tech scans

Extra money for high-tech scans for cancer allows greater access to a procedure that gives more detailed information, says Southern District Health Board chief medical officer Richard Bunton.

Health Minister Tony Ryall said extra funding for PET (positron emission tomography) would allow funded scans to almost double in 2010-11, compared with 2008-09.

This financial year funding increased $800,000, which increases to $1 million extra from next month.

The procedures cost about $2000 each.

The increases meant the southern health board could fund about 35 extra procedures a year, compared with 2008-09, a spokeswoman for Mr Ryall said.

The old Otago and Southland boards together funded 21 scans in 2008-09.

Mr Bunton said PET scans gave more detailed information than CT scans, such as whether a lump was benign or malignant.

This allowed more accurate diagnosis of the condition before other procedures were undertaken.

This year, patients could have their scans in Christchurch, where PET were now available, Mr Bunton said.

Previously, they had to travel to Wellington, or, for fee-paying patients, Australia.

Mr Ryall said PET scans could do away with unnecessary surgery because of the extra information they provided.

About 650 people nationwide received publicly funded PET scans in 2008-09, which would increase by up to 550.


Add a Comment



Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter