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"...