Southland excluded from regional cancer treatment package

People in the south are dying because of delays in cancer diagnosis and treatment.

But recent actions from central government have shown that they just don’t care about Southlanders and people in Queenstown.

With much fanfare, the Prime Minister announced a $25 million regional cancer treatment package. The money will be used to fund radiation treatment for cancer sufferers in more regions than ever before.

New LINAC machines, that are pivotal to improving survival rates for cancer sufferers, will go to Hawke’s Bay, Taranaki and Northland.

But surprise, surprise, there is no funding for a LINAC machine at Southland Hospital.

Cancer sufferers in Southland and Queenstown will continue having to travel to Dunedin for radiation treatment.

These trips away create undue stress for those seeking cancer treatment – entailing significant time away from home comforts and support networks. Additional time off work for treatment also places a greater financial burden on the patient and their family. The difficulty in accessing treatment raises the risk of some not travelling and missing out altogether.

Why has Southland Hospital been excluded from being part of this package?

On a needs basis many southerners live just as far or further from a current facility (Dunedin) as people in both Northland (Auckland) and Taranaki (Palmerston North).

The population catchment for Southland Hospital across Southland and Queenstown also exceeds the population of Taranaki and has grown at a faster rate recently.

The government has responded to Blair Vining’s 98,261 signature petition, that demanded action against the postcode discrimination of cancer sufferers, with a kick in the teeth to the south.

They don’t care, that’s the message.

We need to stand up and fight for the health of our people.

Let’s make health happen.

Vote Benje Patterson for Southern DHB, Southland constituency. Follow my candidacy page on Facebook to stay in the loop of campaign updates.

Authorised by Benje Patterson, 5 Ashenhurst Way, Lower Shotover, Queenstown.