Cancer Council Queensland has welcomed the first release of cancer surgery waiting times from the National Hospital Performance Authority.
According to the NHPA report, most Queensland patients awaiting surgery for malignant bowel, breast, and lung cancers receive surgery within recommended timeframes.
Spokesperson for Cancer Council Queensland, Katie Clift, said the report was reassuring.
“This report provides a good hospital-by-hospital comparison of performance on cancer surgeries,” Ms Clift said.
“Encouragingly, most cancer patients who need surgery for breast, bowel or lung cancer are being treated within recommended timeframes.”
“This is good news for cancer patients and a credit to the health professionals in Queensland’s public hospitals.”
Of concern to Cancer Council Queensland, the report also found that some hospitals did not perform as well as others.
“This comparison of hospital performance highlights the importance of integrated cancer treatment services across Queensland’s Hospital and Health Services,” she said.
“Where some hospitals perform less well, enhanced cooperation between hospitals would help to ensure all hospitals have the capacity to treat patients within recommended timeframes.
“In interpreting the findings of this report, it is important to note that Queensland’s major hospitals play a pivotal role in providing specialised treatment for cancer patients and in treating many regional patients, who are commonly referred to superspeciality hospitals such as the Princess Alexandra.”
The number of new cancer diagnoses in Queensland is forecast to increase by 48 per cent to 2021, at a rate of about 4.4 per cent per year, more than double the rate of population growth, a trend Ms Clift said would place additional demand on major hospitals.
“With an ageing and increasing population, greater numbers of Queenslanders will be diagnosed with cancer each year into the future,” Ms Clift said.
“Investment in cancer treatment services will be vital in meeting demand and ensuring patients are treated within recommended timeframes.
“Any delay in cancer treatment can have serious adverse effects on a patient’s prospects for survival and can exacerbate the psychological distress often experienced by patients.