Time To Deliver

22 Apr, 2009 03:33 PM

Milton Cancer Outpatients Appeal Committee members are outraged that not one oncologist has visited the Milton cancer clinic since its doors opened in August last year.

Committee president Dee Carrington said the South Eastern Sydney Illawarra Area Health Service has provided a series of excuses in response to her ongoing demands for cancer specialists to conduct regular consultations at the centre.

She said the community raised the funds for the purpose built centre and had every right to expect a full range of oncology services.

While chemotherapy and other treatments are being carried out at the centre, cancer patients are still being forced to drive to Wollongong for specialist appointments.

 

Dee said the health service made a commitment to the community that oncologists would visit the centre on a regular basis in order to take the burden off patients and their families – but that has no occurred.

 

“It is well past the time for the area health service to meet its obligations to the Southern Shoalhaven community and provide the agreed range of cancer services here at the Cancer Services Centre in Milton,” she said.

“Patients have to continue to travel outside the area for what might be a five or ten minute consult with their cancer specialist.”

Dee has been quietly lobbying for the service on behalf of the community, but she has reached the point where she must go public with her fight.

“It’s just not right and the community needs to know that they are not getting what they worked so hard to raise money for.”

The health service recently announced plans to host visiting renal and geriatric specialists at the centre, which has angered Dee and her committee even more.

While she said those services are needed and welcome in the district, the promise of cancer care needs to come first.

“This centre was built as a cancer facility and those commitments must be honoured above anything else.

“Specialists in other fields should be using Milton Hospital for their consultations, not the cancer clinic.”

Specialists would be

impressed with clinic

Doctor Brett Thomson believes if cancer specialists paid a visit to the Milton cancer clinic they would be impressed with the state-of-the-art facility.

He is hoping some of the cancer physicians or haematologists from Wollongong come to the official opening of the centre planned for June or July.

“They will see a state-of-the-art facility providing much needed services. “They will see consultation rooms and meeting facilities that they would dream of in the larger cities.

“If they come to the opening they will see the heart and soul and sweat that was put into the centre by the local community and hopefully, they will be inspired to give a tiny bit of their time back,” Dr Thomson said.

He said patients are continuing to travel to Nowra, Wollongong or Sydney see their oncologists and is calling for the South Eastern Illawarra Health Service to provide a consultation service in Milton.

“We know that travelling from Wollongong to Milton is a pain for specialists, our patients tell us repeatedly how difficult it is to make the journey to Wollongong.

“We understand that there is a shortage of skilled physicians in the region to visit.

“However, we also understand that people in this area always drive to be assessed.

“We are told that it is an area wide service and people have to be expected to travel.

“If that’s the case, it would be great if, just once a month, the people in Nowra, who had to be seen that week maybe travelled to the Milton Cancer centre .

“We need to have oncology and haematology consultation services available some time in the Milton area,” Dr Thomson said.

He said every organisation and almost every individual in the district has given something to the Cancer Outpatients Appeal.

“Every person in this community deserves to be proud of the fine building that we have and the great services that are already being provided there .

“But there is more to be done,” he said.

“We are fortunate to have chemotherapy administered on a regular basis at Milton and to have the encouragement of our local nurses and director of nursing, who are 100 per cent supportive of providing cancer services in Milton.”