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Locals bypass cancer services

Wednesday, 29th December, 2010

Cancer services are available in the city with help from the Psycho-Oncology Counsellor Jennifer Carter (left) and the Cancer Nurse Co-ordinator, Sandra Turley Cancer services are available in the city with help from the Psycho-Oncology Counsellor Jennifer Carter (left) and the Cancer Nurse Co-ordinator, Sandra Turley

The growing number of cancer patients travelling to Adelaide for chemotherapy has prompted the hospital to remind locals of the services available.

This follows a review of the use of services by the Greater Western Area Health Service. 

General Manager of the hospital, Rod Wyber- Hughes, said cancer care had been available in Broken Hill for the past 15 years.

"Recently, the model of care has changed due to the loss of our visiting medical oncologist," Mr Wyber- Hughes said. 

"Hospital staff have worked extremely hard to maintain the local oncology service. '

"We continue to deliver chemotherapy treatments in Broken Hill under a new model of care developed in consultation with specialist oncologists from major metropolitan cancer centres across Adelaide."

Mr Wyber-Hughes said the hospital's cancer services are available to help every step of the way - even if you are receiving treatment in Adelaide that cannot be delivered locally.

"However, we must know about you if we are to help," he said. "Local services are available to provide care before, during and after treatment.

"The main message is that people must be proactive when it comes to determining their cancer treatment options - whether that be discussing local treatment options with their GP or with the Hospital's Cancer Care Services.

"We want local patients to utilise their health service and in this case, our cancer service, as much as possible." 

With the progression of the NSW Cancer Plan, Broken Hill Cancer Services now has a Cancer Nurse Co-ordinator and a Psycho-Oncology counsellor.

The nurse co-ordinator is the first point of contact for patients diagnosed with cancer and provides assistance with facilitation of diagnostic tests and investigate procedures, patient advocacy, co-ordinating specialists appointments, follow-up and doctor visits and an explanation of pathology tests and procedures.

The cancer nurse co-ordinator also provides information, education and liaison with specialists and GPs. 

The Psycho-Oncology counsellor is also available to help patients and carers when patients have been diagnosed with cancer.

Services provided include psychological assessment and counselling, meditation, massage relaxation techniques, reiki, information about complementary therapies and pain management strategies.

The Isolated Patients Travel Accommodation Assistance Scheme (IPTAAS) claims for chemotherapy treatments that are available locally do not meet NSW IPTAAS eligibility criteria.

As these claims are not eligible under IPTAAS they will not be approved. However, patients travelling to Adelaide for review appointments with their Medical Oncologist will be eligible for IPTAAS.

Locals can contact the hospital on 8080 1333 or contact the cancer nurse co-ordinator, Sandra Turley, on the direct line 8080 1197 and the psycho-oncology counsellor, Jennifer Carter, on 8080 1577.

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