Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Bring on the medical tourists!

I was fascinated to see news that Auckland's Mercy Hospital will soon be host to NZs first ever private cancer treatment centre, offering "the latest in high-tech treatment, using lower doses of radiation, pinpointing the cancers more precisely, yet treating the cancers more aggressively. Treatment sessions will be quicker and the average patient will be in and out in three minutes. And patients will not have to rely on fluctuating public hospital waiting times to start their treatment.

"We will start their treatment within a week and all the urgent cases will start work within 24 hours," says Dr Benji Benjamin, clinical director.

Given the crucial importance of time in cancer treatment, with British researchers, as just one example, attributing their "dismal" cancer survival rates to the "late diagnoses and lengthy waiting lists for treatment" that are endemic with socialised medicine, this is fantastic news.

One can't help but assume the news is linked to plans announced earlier in the month for privately-owned Ascot and Mercy hospitals to begin offering "New Zealand up as a destination for 'medical tourists' from affluent countries who want 'cheap' operations and other medical procedures" -- a deal by which everyone wins: the medical tourists get timely, inexpensive treatment in well-appointed private hospitals "that, unlike their public counterparts, are not full to overflowing; English-speaking hospital staff and a culture that felt familiar to many Americans," and we get the use of services, facilities and technology that wouldn't be affordable otherwise, and get to retain and attract back just a few of those New Zealand surgeons working overseas, or thinking about heading off.

Great news all 'round, really.

1 comment:


    "The Econmist" daily chart for July 21st shows cancer survival rates by country - "You get what you pay for". The United States is tops.


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