March 18, 2009
SAINT JOHN (CNB) - Progress on the patient wait-time guarantee and support for a pilot project in New Brunswick aimed at reducing wait times for radiation therapy were announced today in Saint John by Health Minister Michael Murphy and federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq. Announcement of the $5-million investment was made at the radiation oncology centre at the Saint John Regional Hospital.
"The new system will help New Brunswick plan for future increases in the demand for radiation therapy, and ensure that cancer patients continue to have access to treatment within appropriate time frames," said Murphy. "Presently, 92 per cent of New Brunswickers receive radiation therapy within four weeks of being ready to treat."
The project, which began in March 2008, uses a patient-centred approach involving both of the province's cancer centres and the New Brunswick Cancer Network, which will help meet individual needs and circumstances. It uses information technology to better track patients' progress and to facilitate radiation therapy in a timely manner.
"The project we are announcing today will help New Brunswickers receive more efficient, timely access to radiation therapy," said Aglukkaq. "For New Brunswick, it marks a significant step toward cutting wait times and providing patients with the quality health care they need, when they need it. The lessons learned from this project will be applied across the country and across a range of clinical areas."
The Government of Canada is investing more than $1 billion toward the advancement of patient wait-time guarantees, which will help patients by offering alternate care options where wait times are exceeded. This includes up to $30 million for pilot projects that will support provinces and territories in testing innovative approaches to wait-time guarantees.
The investment complements 10 pilot projects, underway in eight jurisdictions across the country, that are being implemented under the Patient Wait Time Guarantee Pilot Project Fund, and which contribute to furthering government's commitment to ensure timely access to health care.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Meghan Cumby, Department of Health, 506-457-3522; Josée Bellemare, Office of the Minister of Health, 613-957-0200; Health Canada, 613-957-2983