New plan to improve cancer services in New Zealand

Source: Xinhua| 2017-05-13 08:59:40|Editor: liuxin
Video PlayerClose

WELLINGTON, May 13 (Xinhua) -- A new plan was released to further improve radiation oncology services in New Zealand, said Health Minister Jonathan Coleman on Friday.

While cancer is New Zealand's leading cause of death, outcomes for people with cancer continue to improve, said Coleman.

In 2011, 63 percent of cancer patients survived five years after diagnosis, up from 57 percent in 1999.

"Kiwis are receiving better, faster cancer treatment and more support during their care as a result of the government's 63 million-NZ dollars (42.84 million U.S. dollars) faster cancer treatment program," said Coleman.

There are variations in the delivery of radiation therapy across the country, he said, adding that while some variation is normal, there is room for improvement.

The new National Radiation Oncology Plan 2017-2021 will help district health boards (DHBs) standardize the care they are providing to patients receiving radiation. The plan sets out a range of actions for public radiation oncology providers, the ministry, regional cancer networks and other agencies to improve radiation oncology sector performance over the next four years.

Twelve linear accelerators have been approved since 2009, said Coleman, adding that these machines are helping deliver cancer patients with timely radiation therapy, though the treatment varies between DHBs from 28 to 44 percent.

The National Radiation Oncology Plan 2017-2021 is guided by the New Zealand Cancer Plan 2015-2018: Better, Faster Cancer Care, the Cancer Health Information Strategy and the New Zealand Health Strategy.