Federal Government Funding Cuts for Radiation Therapy Equipment

Significant reductions in the Commonwealth’s investment in radiation therapy are proposed from July 2017. The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists (RANZCR) estimate that the changes will cut $67 million from the sector over 3 years.

The Consumer Fact Sheet provides an overview of the proposed funding reduction. We have also included a Template Letter to be used as a guide if you wish to write to your local MPs to oppose this change in Federal Policy.

Radiation oncology is an essential treatment for a significant number of cancers. It is estimated to be involved in 40% of all cancer cures and it is used in palliative care to relieve symptoms such as pain.

However, it uses a number of highly expensive pieces of equipment. The Radiation Oncology Health Program Grants Scheme (ROHPG) was designed to help cover the cost of the equipment and ensure that this equipment is replaced when needed. Due to the high cost involved in replacing this equipment, without support from the Government, it is likely that hospitals and practices will delay replacement resulting in equipment becoming aged and out of date. Before the ROHPG Scheme was introduced radiation therapy equipment was rarely replaced due to the high cost, which compromised patient treatment.

We are concerned that these changes will threaten access to modern radiation therapy equipment and have a profound impact on the delivery of cancer care, potentially leading to poorer outcomes.