Cancer patients in ACT worse off

Cancer patients in the ACT are waiting longer to receive life-saving treatment than patients in other jurisdictions, Shadow Health Minister Vicki Dunne said.
According to a new report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the ACT is the worst performing jurisdiction for the number of days it takes to provide radiotherapy treatment after a patient has been assessed as needing treatment.
Nationally, 50 per cent of patients started treatment within 10 days in 2017-18. But in the ACT, 50 per cent of patients only started treatment within 21 days.
In the ACT, 90 per cent of patients started treatment within 42 days, compared to 26 days nationally.
On both scales, the ACT was the worst performing jurisdiction of all states and territories.
This follows published government data showing a dramatic decline in the number of palliative and radical care patients being seen in time in 2018-19.
“When we’re talking about cancer, every single day counts in the recovery process,” Mrs Dunne said.
“It is unacceptable that cancer patients in Canberra have to wait longer for life-saving treatment.
“We are a wealthy jurisdiction with the most expensive public hospitals in the country – why are our cancer patients worse off? Where is all the money going?
“Fighting cancer is an incredibly stressful ordeal for patients and their families. They shouldn’t have to suffer the added stress of whether they will get treatment in time.
“My real fear is that delays to cancer treatment is putting patients at increased risk.
“After 18 years in charge of Canberra’s hospitals, the Labor Government should explain why cancer patients in the ACT are worse off,” Mrs Dunne said.