No more plane, train and automobile journeys to Brisbane
Some cancer patients in regional Queensland are now able to receive treatment closer to home thanks to a new tele-chemotherapy service.
Longreach resident Sharon Rose was the first patient treated under the Central West Hospital and Health Service’s new tele-chemotherapy service.
She began her treatment at Longreach Hospital this week, supported by specially trained local staff, as well as expert staff on a video link from Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital and North Lakes Health Precinct.
“It means I’ll be able to drive just five minutes down the road from home to Longreach Hospital to have my treatment,’’ Ms Rose said.
“Previously, I was travelling to Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital by plane, train and automobile every three weeks for treatment and have been doing so since August last year.
“Travelling to Brisbane every three weeks means being away from home for two nights and close to four days each time.
“It’s a long journey for a treatment that takes only up to 35 minutes to administer.
“To be able to have the treatment in Longreach instead will be so beneficial, especially if I’m not feeling well and having to worry about travelling and taking time off work.
“Having me home, my family, my husband and two sons, also will have less worries with me travelling so often.’’
Central West Health Tele-Chemotherapy Project Officer Irene Scott said the new service would benefit up to 20 patients a year initially.
“Travelling to Brisbane or any other large regional centre, frequently can be a significant practical, emotional and financial burden for anyone and even more so if you have a family, a job, or other such responsibilities,” Ms Scott said.
“It will be so much easier being able to do it closer to home.’’
The Central West’s new tele-chemotherapy services is a partnership with Metro North Hospital and Health Service.
The service allows nurses to administer cancer-fighting drugs locally in Longreach while being guided and advised over a video link by medical oncologists and expert chemotherapy nurses at RBWH and North Lakes Health Precinct.
The tele-chemotherapy program will be available at Longreach Hospital to begin with and then be progressively rolled out to the Barcaldine, Blackall and Winton facilities.
Ms Scott said not all cancer patients would be eligible to use the new tele-chemotherapy service.
“The program is ideal for those patients receiving certain low-risk therapies, like Ms Rose,” she said.
“Other patients requiring more complex therapy will still need to travel to a more specialised cancer care centre outside our health service for their treatment.
“However, for those of our patients who suit the criteria, the new service will make a very big difference indeed and we are looking forward to start delivering it.’’