Lack of money and poor health policies could cost you your life 26



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Having cancer is one of the worst things you could imagine, but knowing there is a treatment available that could save your life and not being about to access it takes that to a new level again. However, that is exactly what new research says is happening.

A medical report published in The Lancet Oncology reveals a lack of radiotherapy equipment and trained staff could be contributing to deaths from potentially treatable cancers.

The report said millions of people are dying from cancers like breast and prostate because of a chronic underinvestment in radiotherapy resources, which has led to limitations in accessing radiotherapy, even in relatively well-off countries like Australia.

According to News Mail, the research also stated there was evidence of a”periodic erosion” of radiotherapy capacity in Australia which was attributed to poor health policies.

The report estimates that full access to radiotherapy could be achieved for all patients in need in low-and middle income countries by 2035 for as little as US$ 97 billion, with potential health benefits of 27 million life years saved, and economic benefits ranging from US$ 278 billion to US$ 365 billion over the next 20 years.

The News Mail says the report was part of a major new Commission on access to radiotherapy being presented at the 2015 European Cancer Congress in Vienna, Austria.

Does this surprise you? Do you think the Australian government should make health funding a higher priority and do more to ensure money allocated to health isn’t wasted?


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The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Unfortunately I think the Public System (at least in Queensland) is overloaded. When my husband had his heart attack we flew him to Brisbane and he had a stent put in. A friend of ours unfortunately did not have private health cover and is reliant on the Public System. He has a blocked artery and he is on medication. We are concerned for him. Definitely a lack of funds and probably specialists in the Public System.

  2. My daughter had Private cover but had been given DSP Pension, so was free , but had a choice of 4 Hospitals for the many different radiology she needed. I have never heard of a lack of radiology in Sydney areas. I have not heard complaints about lack of any equipment

  3. I live in a country area and to get X-rays or scans done the wait can be weeks. Fortunately for us we can get to Adelaide and back in a day, so we head down there and get these done when necessary. Expensive diagnostic equipment is lacking in country areas, but what is there seems not to have permanent staff to operate it.

  4. My brother has Multiple Myeloma (cancer of the blood) and is part of a clinical trail at The Alfred Hospital. He has had every test known to man and because of his many health issues these are ongoing. Next week it’s a dilation of his esophagus, and the following day it’s a MRI on his spine. I have never noticed a shortage of either equipment or staff. He has also had numerous blood transfusions and Zometa treatments for bone density. Sometimes the process is slow, but it is reliable.

    1 REPLY
    • That is my opinion too, I don’t know anyone who hast not been able to get the treatment they needed,

  5. This is the kind of thing that hurts me to the core about the wicked wicked wasting of money by incompetent and grand gesturing M.P.’s.

  6. In radiotherapy in Qld there is a trend towards privatisation by very large international companies. And private radiation treatment is one area where private is not better , because with private radiotherapy the emphasis is on profit and junior staff are hired and departments are run with minimum staffing and minimum of safety checks. Whereas within the public system, quality of patient care is the prime consideration, not profit.

    3 REPLY
    • That’s correct. I have a very rare heart condition. I have private health insurance but it was found by a public hospital because I arrived by ambulance. Since then, my cardiologist sends me to the public hospital for MRIs, quoting better trained radiologists than in the private sector.

    • The good thing is you can take their referral to an expensive clinic to any of the cheaper or bulk billing places and have it done.

  7. I got into terrible trouble earlier this week for saying people die in waiting lists outside major centres… I rest my case. 🙁

    1 REPLY
    • I don’t think we have these problems in NSW, may be a week or 2 wait for cancer treatment in a Public Hospital.

  8. Ms Ley take a damm good look around you…………. and ask yourself Ms Ley…………… why are you trying to cut service to Medicare??……….. and the service your trying to cut are vital to many chronic and sick patients of Australia…………Ms Ley your not a medical professionals so leave it up to the experts thats our GP and Specialists

    1 REPLY
    • M/S Ley is not cutting Medicare. This revue was instigated months ago by R Di Natale . You have seen ONE version on here, AND heard from Dr Owler, This was discussed on Q & A , AND Four Corners, on Monday. C King got up as she usually does & says M Turnbull cutting medicare, , but was told not that simple only a revue and apparently many Drs agree. T Jones did ask C King where the funding was coming from as he agreed with Drs. It was a much more in depth discussion on 4 corners . Well worth a look . as you don’t seem up to date on much

  9. I think those who accuse the government of grand gesturing and wasting money (and we are talking only about health) should look to the doctors who have shares in the business of health tests! So many doctors are abusing the system by ordering unneeded tests simply because the government pays. Sickness is big business! The entire system is being abused. My brother has top hospital cover. When he goes into a public hospital they put him in a 4 bed ward, charge him private fees and for this he gets free hire of postage sized TV and a daily newspaper. Just like in education, the rorts and wastage are phenominal.

    2 REPLY
    • I won’t go Public and expect my fund to pay those huge bed costs , for 4 beds I am subsidising all those who don’t think it is important. , We have a Large private Hospital in our Suburb , even has an emergency dept, & special ward if you need to stay o/nite. it does cost a lot & not reclaimable , but worth it, I get the impression people like to have all these tests, just in case.

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