National pledges faster cancer treatment

02:19, Aug 28 2014
John Key
JOHN KEY: National's plan will aim to reduce wait times for specialist appointments for patients who are suspected to have cancer.

National today pledged faster cancer treatment and extra money for arthritis, back pain and joint conditions.

Leader John Key made the announcement at the Cancer Society's Domain Lodge in Auckland.

An extra $40 million would be invested to ensure patients begin treatment within 62 days. The target was signed off by cabinet before the election campaign began.

Outgoing health minister Tony Ryall said those who are suspected to have cancer should see a specialist within two weeks. Tests and clinical investigations will take place faster and the first treatment begin within a maximum 62 days of the original GPs referral. 

In a second announcement, Key said a re-elected National government would plough $50 million into easing bone muscle and joint pain. New primary care intervention teams would soak up $6m, to offer nutrition and lifestyle advice.

A further $30m of new money will boost the number of orthopaedic operations, to 2250 over the next three years.

Ryall said around a quarter of GP consultations are related to arthritis, lower back pain, orthopaedic or other bone joint and muscle and joint conditions.

Key spent the morning campaigning in Auckland, attending a business breakfast in his Helensville electorate. Tonight, he will go head-to-head with Labour leader David Cunliffe in the first televised debate of the campaign.

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