One-off funding to speed radiation treatment

Southern cancer patients should have a shorter wait for radiation treatment because of a $1.8 million funding boost announced by Health Minister Tony Ryall yesterday.

It was part of nationwide funding of nearly $4 million aimed at cutting wait times for cancer sufferers.

The one-off funding would buy new software for Dunedin's Southern Cancer Centre.

The Southern Blood and Cancer Service would be able to provide radiation treatment for up to 10 extra patients a day because of the new software, Mr Ryall said.

"We have agreed to one-off funding of $1.8 million for new software at the Southern Cancer Centre that will deliver high-quality treatment faster than the standard delivery time."

In December, the Ministry of Health's target for receiving radiotherapy reduces from six weeks to four.

"National promised to reduce the length of time people had to wait for radiation treatment, and we have achieved this by listening to and supporting the hard-working staff at DHBs around the country," Mr Ryall said.

The Southern DHB met the six-week target in the April to June quarter, the last available quarterly data showed.

A Southern DHB spokeswoman said no-one was available yesterday to discuss the funding boost.

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