First ra­dio­ther­apy cen­tre opens

Central Leader - - News -

New Zealand’s first pri­vate ra­dio­ther­apy cen­tre has opened in Ep­som.

Auck­land Ra­di­a­tion On­col­ogy, a joint ven­ture be­tween Mer­cyAs­cot and South­ern Cross Hos­pi­tals, will ini­tially treat be­tween 450 and 500 peo­ple a year, even­tu­ally ris­ing to 750 to 800.

Chair­man Dr An­drew Wong says ini­tial in­ter­est in the cen­tre has been strong, but they plan to build up to ca­pac­ity slowly to avoid any teething prob­lems.

The unit will mainly pro­vide treat­ment for breast and prostate can­cer.

Two lin­ear ac­cel­er­a­tors, which pro­vide ra­di­a­tion ther­apy, have been bought and space for an­other two has been set aside de­pend­ing on de­mand.

The coun­try’s big­gest health in­surer South­ern Cross Health­care, which has 840,000 mem­bers, has agreed to cover ra­dio­ther­apy in most of its poli­cies. No agree­ment has been reached on whether the unit will treat pub­lic pa­tients.

But Auck­land District Health Board gen­eral man­ager of clin­i­cal ser­vices Fion­nagh Dougan says that could hap­pen if wait­ing lists get too long.

In re­cent weeks the health board has sent pa­tients need­ing ra­dio­ther­apy to Waikato and Syd­ney due to an in­flux of pa­tients and staff short­ages.

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