Cancer care close to home for public patients

CARE: Nursing unit manager, Jenny Jagoe with Dr Priyan Wikramanayake. Photo: Hannah Neale.
CARE: Nursing unit manager, Jenny Jagoe with Dr Priyan Wikramanayake. Photo: Hannah Neale.

All aspects of cancer care are now available close to home for public patients.

An agreement at Southern Highlands Private Hospital has been extended to include all aspects of oncology and haematology care for public patients.

The agreement now means that the insertion of portacaths can be done locally at the hospital.

The new service commenced at the beginning of April, with several patients having already undergone the procedure.

A portacath is required to both draw blood and administer chemotherapy treatments through a catheter inserted into the chest.

Director of clinical services, Kim Granger, said that chemotherapy can irritate the veins and some types of medication can cause tissue damage.

As a result the insertion of the device is vital for some patients undergoing cancer treatment.

Previously, patients had to travel to Liverpool or Concord hospital to undertake surgery to insert a portacath.

The long waiting list and travel time was not ideal for people from the region.

"The extended agreement ensures that every aspect of cancer treatment can be done locally," Ms Granger said.

HEALTH: inside the Southern Highlands Cancer Centre. Photo: Hannah Neale.

HEALTH: inside the Southern Highlands Cancer Centre. Photo: Hannah Neale.

The day surgery is carried out by Dr Wikramanayake at the private hospital.

"Dr Wik is very skilled and we can line up the operation in a very short space of time," Ms Granger said.

"There is no cost to the public for cancer treatment.

"It's all about looking after the community."

The development comes after haematology treatment became available to public patients in January 2018.

Prior to this patients who needed treatment could have an initial consultation in Bowral but public patients were required to travel to Liverpool, Sydney or Campbelltown for further care.

"The issue was raised by members of the community and we took action on that," Ms Granger said.

The cancer centre performs between 300 and 320 treatments a month.

The number of patients is estimated to have tripled in the past six years.

The services are offered in agreement with the Bowral and District Hospital as part of the South Western Sydney Local Health District.

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This story All aspects of oncology and haematology care now available for public patients first appeared on Southern Highland News.