If elected a Marshall Liberal Government will increase the chemotherapy services provided at the Riverland General Hospital in Berri under a plan to ensure more cancer patients can receive care in the region instead of having to travel to Adelaide.
Last year a report by Torrens University Australia showed that Renmark topped the list in South Australia for ‘all cancers, persons, 2006 to 2010’ at 43 per cent above the national average rate.
Member for Chaffey Tim Whetstone said at the moment many cancer patients in the Riverland have to travel to Adelaide for chemotherapy services which places a huge burden on patients and their families.
"Currently many Riverland patients needing chemotherapy treatment above a ‘low risk’ level are forced to travel to Adelaide despite the Riverland General Hospital having four chemotherapy chairs," said Mr Whetstone.
"Anyone who has had to undergo chemotherapy or has seen a family member or friend go through treatment knows that traveling long distances to get treatment is the last thing these patients need.
"Residents in the Riverland deserve access to better health services and that’s what we will deliver.
"The Liberal Party’s Expanding Country Cancer Services policy builds on our previous commitments to address the country health capital works backlog, invest in the rural health workforce and establish six regional health boards."
In addition to doubling the level of chemotherapy services delivered in regional South Australia, the State Liberals country cancer initiative will:
- Invest in specialist teams at country chemotherapy units;
- Undertake a pilot of a GP oncologist role in country South Australia; and
- Implement a statewide electronic cancer information and prescribing system.
Shadow Minister for Health Stephen Wade said regional South Australians have been treated like second class citizens for too long by this 16 year old Labor Government.
"Many country cancer patients, currently, have to make the long journey to Adelaide to receive chemotherapy treatment which places more significant strain on patients and their families," said Mr Wade. Contact: Tim Whetstone 0428 617 800
"A Marshall Liberal Government will double the level of chemotherapy treatment being delivered in country South Australia so that country cancer patients can receive the care they need at their local hospital.
"We will employ more chemotherapy nurses, appoint a second medical oncologist for country chemotherapy services and increase pharmacy support.
"In an Australian-first, we will also undertake a trial of a GP oncologist role that will see a local GP provided with advanced skills training in medical oncology. This GP would be trained to be part of the team at a local chemotherapy unit, providing medical support in the absence of the medical oncologist.
"The Labor Government has failed to deliver a new IT system promised in 2010. We will deliver a statewide electronic cancer information and prescribing system to provide better and safer services throughout the State.
"A Marshall Liberal Government will begin the installation of the electronic cancer information and prescribing system in all twenty SA Health chemotherapy units within 12 months."