The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists (RANZCR) welcomes the New Zealand Government’s Cancer Action Plan, heralding a step towards improving access to vital cancer services in New Zealand.
The plan details a national perspective on cancer care, with the establishment of a Cancer Control Agency Board and focus on ensuring equitable access to high-quality cancer treatment.
RANZCR President Dr Lance Lawler said, “We welcome the Cancer Action Plan and hope to see it backed up by a concrete infrastructure and workforce plan. We know that around 22,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer this year. This number will continue increasing with the ageing population. Given this increase it will be vital to ensure that suitable workforce planning, infrastructure and training measures within radiation oncology and clinical radiology are in place to deliver quality cancer care.
“Unless more doctors are attracted to and retained within these specialties in New Zealand, the workforce will be insufficient to meet future demand and ensure adequate service provision for a growing and ageing population.
“Half of all cancer patients could benefit from radiation therapy, yet in New Zealand only one in three have it. It is imperative that all patients who could benefit from it have timely access to radiation oncology services. In addition to the recently announced replacement of old linac machines, additional machines and facilities will be necessary to meet the increasing need for radiation services.
“It will also be important to provide incentives and support programs to cancer patients in regional and rural areas, particularly to assist patients who cannot afford the out-of-pocket costs of travelling for treatment.”
RANZCR was pleased to see recognition of the important role radiology plays in diagnosis and interventional treatments for cancer within the Plan.
RANZCR welcomes the opportunity to continue improving cancer care in New Zealand and will work closely with the Ministry of Health and our network of expert clinicians to provide feedback on the Cancer Action Plan.
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists (RANZCR) is the peak body advancing best practice across clinical radiology and radiation oncology for the benefit of patients and the healthcare system.
RANZCR’s role is to drive the safe and appropriate use of clinical radiology and radiation oncology to optimise health outcomes. Through leadership, education and advocacy, we support 4,500 members to provide quality services to patients. We administer world-class training programs for admission into our professions, accredit training sites, assess overseas-trained specialists, and oversee professional development by our members.
Clinical radiology relates to the diagnosis or treatment of a patient through the use of medical imaging. Diagnostic imaging uses plain X-ray radiology, computerised tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound and nuclear medicine imaging techniques to obtain images that are interpreted to aid in the diagnosis of disease. In addition to their diagnostic role, clinical radiologists also provide treatments and use imaging equipment in an interventional capacity.
Radiation oncology is a medical specialty that involves the controlled use of radiation to treat cancer either for cure, or to reduce pain and other symptoms caused by cancer.