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Wellington And Canty Agree On Shared Child Cancer Service

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

(EMBARGOED 0500 Sept 22)

Wellington, Sept 22 NZPA - The treatment of most Wellington child cancer patients will be able to take place in the capital, the Capital and Coast District Health Board said today.

Christchurch Hospital has been treating Wellington child cancer patients since the CCDHB service was downgraded two years ago.

But the board and Canterbury District Health Board have agreed on a new shared care arrangement that means most of the treatment for the majority of Wellington child cancer patients can be delivered in Wellington.

However, some children and families will still need to travel to Christchurch for some diagnostic services and treatment planning, the CCDHB said.

Christchurch will also continue to provide the intensive inpatient chemotherapy service for Wellington patients.

Andrew Simpson, CCDHB director of cancer, medical and community services, said the DHB was committed to retaining as many services as possible in Wellington.

"We understand the burden that travel for treatment can cause for patients and their families -- at what is a very stressful time. We expect this agreement will not only reduce the need to travel for many families, but it will also mean that patients will have access to the best care available, in the best place," Dr Simpson said.

"Patients will receive as many services as possible close to their home, while also benefiting from the expertise of the Christchurch specialist paediatric oncology clinical team, as well as our whole Wellington paediatric team."

A paediatric oncologist from Canterbury will be on site in Wellington full time until Christmas and will hold weekly visiting clinics after that. Wellington will continue to have its own full time paediatrician who has a special interest in paediatric oncology.

The agreement was reached after months of hard work by the clinical teams and management in both Wellington and Christchurch, the board said.

Canterbury DHB's chief medical officer Nigel Millar said the board had made several staff appointments in Christchurch recently, including a fourth consultant paediatric oncologist, an oncology fellow, a trainee nurse and a full time liasion nursing role.

"This will allow us to meet the specialist cancer needs of children within Wellington and across the South Island," Dr Millar said.

The contract for the current paediatric oncologist based in Wellington, Dr Sarah Strandjord, ends on October 15 and the new agreement will take place from then.


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