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The board today announced it was issuing a Request for Proposal (RFP) for other health providers to help it provide radiation oncology services.
The RFP is for treatment of breast and prostate cancers as those were the illnesses with the most number of patients, but other illnesses would be considered on a case by case basis for outsourced treatment if the SDHB could not provide cover itself.
"Our concern is to reduce the waiting lists, so we’ll be seeking additional support for as long as is required to achieve this," SDHB chief executive Chris Fleming said.
Providers will be asked to tender for provision of first specialist assessments, planning and the subsequent radiation oncology treatment course.
"This would include managing travel arrangements where necessary," Mr Fleming said.
The SDHB had also offered several patients, starting with those who had been on the waiting list the longest, the option to receive treatment at St George's Hospital in Christchurch.
The Otago Daily Times reported a fortnight ago that cancer treatment waiting times were nearing crisis point, and last Monday SDHB board member and radiation oncologist Lyndell Kelly revealed that the radiation oncology treatment waiting list stood at a record 157 patients.
Health Minister Andrew Little said last week that he was ``acutely aware'' of the issues at Southern and that they needed to be addressed.
Waiting lists are also long for CT and MRI scans, and several patients have suffered harm while they waited.
* See tomorrow's Otago Daily Times for more details and reaction.