FEWER cancer patients are being treated in time as ACT Labor fails to update ageing medical equipment and address workforce shortages, says Shadow Minister for Health Vicki Dunne, in response to the 2017-18 annual health report.
Ms Dunne says the report revealed that in 2012-13, 100 per cent of palliative radiotherapy was provided within the recommended two week period, and 98 per cent of radical radiotherapy was provided within four weeks. But, in 2017-18, these figures plummeted to 58 per cent and 53 per cent respectively.
“Cancer patients and their families need to be very concerned about this,” she says.
“For a number of years we were meeting and even exceeding the target of cancer patients seen in time. There was a gradual decline over the past couple of years, but these latest figures show a shocking plummet.
“This huge drop off in the timeliness of cancer treatment is largely attributed to outdated equipment, lack of staff and increasing demand.
The ACT government should have been looking at issues well before reaching the point where it can no longer meet the needs of cancer patients.
“Most alarming is that cancer equipment is too old to deal with the complex needs of our patients. We have a new cancer centre, why wasn’t the equipment updated with the new centre?”