PM opens Wellington's first private cancer care facility
The Prime Minister on Thursday opened Wellington's first private cancer care facility, the Bowen Icon Cancer Centre, next to Bowen Hospital.
Bill English says it offers patients a choice for treatments and drugs that aren't currently publicly funded.
The $2 million centre has capacity to treat 20 patients a day, with services like chemotherapy and monoclonal antibodies.
It's a day-hospital open to adults with all types of cancer and is a joint initiative between Acurity Health Group and Australian cancer care provider Icon Group.
There are 60 new cancer cases registered every day in New Zealand, and 9000 deaths from the disease each year.
Patients will need to have insurance or be self-funded to use the facility.
The Prime Minister denied suggestions it meant there wasn't enough cancer funding in the public health system.
"There's a very significant investment from government in cancer treatment. It's a sign that the system is open to new investment for patients who want a choice and some different models of care, so we welcome it because it lifts the standard of care for everyone. Most of the cancer care is always going to happen in the public system", Mr English said.
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman said patients who are seriously ill want to be treated close to home.
"Patients seeking private care who live in Wellington have been going further afield, so this facility is an excellent complement to existing services", Mr Coleman said.
"Cancer and cardiovascular disease are the most serious health problems people ever face."
Stage two of the Bowen Icon Cancer Centre will involve the installation of a $4 million LINAC machine, used for radiation treatment, by the end of next year.
There are other private cancer clinics in Auckland, Tauranga, Waikato, Palmerston North, Christchurch and Dunedin.