New data shows one third of radiotherapy is provided by private hospitals in Australia.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) released the Radiotherapy in Australia 2015-16 report which showed private hospitals provided 19,953 radiotherapy courses out of 60,580 courses nationally.
Private providers also saw patients faster. The average wait time for radiotherapy in private hospitals was six days, compared to a 13 day wait at public hospitals, but the highest average wait times occur in inner and outer regional areas, especially inner regional areas who have to wait, on average, 12 days before accessing treatment.
This is an issue Icon Group CEO, Mark Middleton hopes to fix as some Australians still struggle to access radiotherapy.
“The Icon approach has been to deliver the best possible care, to as many people as possible, as close to home as possible.
“This has seen us establish cancer centres in outer metropolitan and regional locations, including comprehensive centres that give patients access to radiation therapy, chemotherapy and pharmacy services in the one location.
“Improving access to cancer care takes a coordinated and a collaborative approach between both the public and private healthcare sectors,” said Mr Middleton.
It is important to note that people receiving treatment in remote areas only had to wait eight days for treatment, but the report states “there may be different treatment pathways, possibly involving waiting for radiation oncologists who visit remote areas regularly, or having to make arrangements to visit treatment sites elsewhere.”
The report also shows what cancers were treated for both men and women a in private hospitals.
For men, 32.7 percent of courses of radiotherapy were for prostate cancer, and for women, 50.6 percent of courses of radiotherapy were for breast cancer.
Coverage of radiotherapy courses in Australia for 2015–16 across both public and private sectors was 100 percent, the AIHW received data from 44 public sector sites and 33 private-sector sites.
Read the full report here.