22 Sep 2010

Child cancer patients to travel to Christchurch

10:09 am on 22 September 2010

Fifteen child cancer patients from the lower North Island are expected to have to travel to Christchurch each year under a new plan for child cancer services in Wellington.

The Capital & Coast and Canterbury District Health Boards have announced they will share care for the patients in future.

The Child Cancer Foundation says the new agreement is the best that parents of the patients could have hoped for.

Capital & Coast DHB has had problems recruiting and retaining staff for child cancer services in the region.

Radio New Zealand's health correspondent says the agreement means new patients will travel to Christchurch for some diagnosis, treatment planning and intensive inpatient chemotherapy.

The rest of the care needed by most patients will continue to be delivered in Wellington, through arrangements that include a weekly clinic by a visiting paediatric oncologist from Christchurch.

Child Cancer Foundation vice-chair John Robson says the foundation will be lobby the Government for a transport package so that the families of cancer patients can stay together throughout their treatment.