Cancer patients who want to get treatment privately will now be able to receive care in Rotorua - with the opening of a new private oncology clinic.
Patients now have the option of treatment at the new clinic at Southern Cross Hospital Rotorua.
General manager Michael Ludbrook said the clinic was good news for private local cancer patients - some who had been travelling to Auckland or Hamilton to receive treatment.
The hospital has partnered with private oncologist doctor Anna Goodwin, a team of radiation oncologists from the Kathleen Kilgour Centre in Tauranga and specialist nurses to provide medical and radiation oncology services.
He said they had been working on the development of the clinic for almost a year after concerns patients were having to travel out of town to receive treatment.
"A lot in the Rotorua, Taupo and Whakatane area were having to go up to Auckland and we thought 'heavens above, we should be trying to do something locally'."
Mr Ludbrook said cancer treatments often required frequent trips and specialist appointments, so being able to offer the service privately in Rotorua would reduce travelling.
Another big advantage would be the ability for surgeons and oncologists to be able to collaborate onsite, he said.
"There has been a nationwide move towards private oncology clinics, largely due to patient demand for quicker access to a wider range of treatment options.
"The opening of this clinic also recognises that receiving treatment for cancer is a physically and emotionally stressful process and having to travel to other centres is draining for both patients and their families. By providing the majority of oncology services close to home we can help ease some of this stress."
The medical oncology clinics, chemotherapy and immune therapy will be provided from Southern Cross Hospital Rotorua.
The radiotherapy clinics and treatment will initially be provided at the Kathleen Kilgour Centre in Tauranga, with the clinics moving to Southern Cross Hospital Rotorua early in 2017.
Radiotherapy treatment would remain at the Kathleen Kilgour Centre, he said.
Mr Ludbrook said those who had health insurance might decide to go to privately for treatment, after discussions with their GP.