Callous cop-out in cancer care


Australia has wet-nursed our country through a crisis in breast cancer care for the past four years.

About 300 women with breast cancer have flown the Tasman for radiotherapy because our health system cannot cope, a problem blamed largely on staff shortages. The move has cost New Zealand taxpayers more than $2.4 million to date.

The Auckland District Health Board, the only one to send patients to Australia for radiotherapy this year, has sent about 20 women a month since January.

When our ability to nurture our nurturers fails, something is seriously wrong at the heart of our health system. The plethora of statistics includes:

In 2001, 615 women died of breast cancer and in 2002, 2345 cases were diagnosed. Numbers are predicted to rise 10% by 2011.