Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Life-saving private cancer unit opens in Auckland

Several of you reading this will have your lives saved by the new Mercy Hospital radiology unit that formally opens this week -- New Zealand's first private cancer treatment unit, which comes complete with two brand spanking new linear accelerators.  Story here at RadioNZ.

MercyAscot promises to start treatment within two weeks of diagnosis, a life-savin

g contrast with Auckland's public system in which it can take up to eight or even twelve weeks before starting treatment.

These are crucial weeks for patients survival prospects.

Research has made it abundantly clear that delays in starting cancer treatment is a leading indicator of survival chances -- contract cancer in Eastern Europe or the UK, for example, and your chances of survival are less than half; but contract cancer in the US, and your chances vault up to nearly two-thirds. The reason Brits are more likely to die? "Cancer experts blamed late diagnosis and long waiting lists."

Despite this being all too clear, little has been or can be done to speed up diagnosis or cut waiting times in the die-while-you-wait public system NZ shares with the UK.

In other words, people have been dying for the sake of a failed ideology.  Thank goodness there's now a life-saver up the road.

UPDATE:  News in today of cancer patient Anita McCall, pictured below, who the public system simply "forgot" about.  Another New Zealander killed by this failed ideology:

    STUFF: Hospital 'forgot' about cancer patient
    A woman who died during cancer surgery after being forgotten about for more than a year in a hospital system could have beaten the disease if the blunder was not made, an inquest has found.
    Anita McCall, 48, died in Hutt Hospital in August 2006 as a result of complications during surgery.
    She was referred to the hospital by her GP in January 2005, for suspected haemorrhoids, but it was 13 months before she was seen by a specialist. By that stage rectal cancer had started to ravage her body.
    Coroner Garry Evans' findings come a week after the health and disability commissioner revealed details of three other patients who suffered serious health complaints after being "lost in the system"...


  1. Richard McGrath28 Oct 2008, 17:50:00

    Re poor Anita McCall - I've said it before: if a doctor screws up, he is tried in multiple forums in a drawn out nerve wracking ordeal; when a bureaucrat screws up nothing significant happens. The fucked-up system that caused the lethal delay is not examined at all.

  2. Knowing anita personally I know the world lost a great mother teacher and friend it seems needlessly
    Dr's need to hold themselves more accountable and patients ned to stop being so trusting they arent god it was the hospital system the screwed up but the GP should have folowed this up more closely


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