New $500m Labor boost to cut wait times for cancer patients
New $500m Labor boost to cut wait times for cancer patients

$500m boost for cancer patients

CANCER patients will be treated by doctors sooner under a Labor plan to pump $500 million into slashing waiting lists in public hospitals.

Queensland has one of the worst records on delays for cancer treatment in Australia, with one in five of the most in-need patients forced to wait longer than 30 days and one in 10 waiting nine months.

Wait times in the state's public hospitals are the third-worst in the country after NSW and the ACT. Delays have blown out in Queensland over the past five years, with average wait times up from 28 to 40 days since 2013-14. One in 10 patients are forced to wait 279 days, up from 186 five years ago.

The poor results for Queensland Health come over a period with state and federal governments battling over hospital funding. Bill Shorten will today vow to slash the ­delays with a new $500 million investment aimed at cancer treatment, ranging from initial consultations to radiation treatment and surgery.

The funds comes from the Labor leader's promised $2.3 billion aimed at ending out-of-pocket costs for cancer patients.

 

Cancer patient Sarah McGoram meeting Opposition Leader Bill Shorten. Picture: Kym Smith
Cancer patient Sarah McGoram meeting Opposition Leader Bill Shorten. Picture: Kym Smith

 

As part of the plan, states will be paid to sign up to national targets to cut wait times. "When people are sick, the last thing they need is to sit on long waiting lists watching the clock for the treatment they need," Mr Shorten said.

"However, under the Liberals' cuts to health and hospitals, waiting times for essential surgery and procedures have blown out. Average waiting times for elective surgery have increased in every state and territory under the Liberals."