A review of patients waiting for urgent prostate biopsies in the Southern District Health Board region has been promised a new approach will ensure 100 people will been seen "promptly".
Source: 1 NEWS
Today, the DHB confirmed that a backlog of patients in the urology service would be addressed with "immediate actions".
It comes after criticism of the delays, especially at Dunedin Hospital.
Some patients in Otago have recently been transferred to Southland Hospital to be treated.
Last month it was revealed that 10 prostate cancer patients in Dunedin had to wait seven months for urgent surgery that was meant to be carried out within a month.
DHB chief medical officer Nigel Millar told RNZ that more than six men have had their life expectancy shortened due to delays in cancer treatment.
"I can't give you a definite figure, but that's my fear," he said.
Of the 100 biopsies the DHB was committed to, it was thought a quarter would have very poor prognoses.
Dr Millar said the delays were unacceptable and regretful.
"It is our responsibility to do the best we can to correct this. And it's a whole set of sad of circumstances that the public health system should have this sort of failure in its provision of service."
Steps that have been agreed by the review also include an additional clinical nurse being recruited for Dunedin Hospital, locum consultants being sought to cover annual leave and all outstanding cases being reviewed.