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Closer to Home: Moree Oncology and Chemotherapy

Hunter New England Local Health District
Project Added:
24 August 2012
Last updated:
30 September 2014

Closer to Home: Moree Oncology and Chemotherapy

by Bronwyn Cosh, Hunter New England Local Health District

Summary

Historically rural people have been less inclined to travel for cancer care, refuse treatment and therefore have had poorer outcomes than their city counterparts.

There had been no Oncology service available in Moree and only a limited Chemotherapy Service. The monthly visit of the Moree person living with cancer to the Oncologist in Tamworth entailed a 550km road trip and probably a day off work for their carer. This travel led to both financial and physical burdens. This trip was at a time when the patient was debilitated and vulnerable and caused much anguish and physical exhaustion.

With the appointment of an Oncologist at the Tamworth Cancer Clinics the opportunity arose to establish an outreach Oncology Clinic at Moree thereby enabling an increase in the number of cancer patients who would be able to access their chemotherapy treatments in Moree.

The key objectives of the 2007 Hunter New England Cancer Services plan were to:

  • improve cancer outcome
  • improve the patient's experience of care
  • improve the efficiency of cancer service delivery for adults

Having Oncology and Chemotherapy services in Moree sees these objectives realised by removing the need to travel for cancer services at a time when patients are debilitated.

Implementation

Planning meetings were commenced in Moree in December 2009 and the first Outreach Oncology clinic operated in March 2010. Dr George and the Moree Cancer Nurses were supported by the Cancer Care coordinator from Tamworth as well as Administration support for the first clinics.

The successful delivery of chemotherapy required an extra Chemotherapy Nurse to be trained. Community members facilitated donations to cover the Cost of the Cancer Nurse education through the College of Nursing.

Consumer Representatives fund raised and donated $13,000 to enable the purchase of equipment for the clinic. This included IV pumps vital signs monitor computer and diagnostic equipment.

Staff put together fact sheets to be delivered to the patients when presenting to Moree Oncology Clinic. These fact sheets included:

  • telephone numbers of chemotherapy nurses and palliative care
  • signs of febrile neutrpopenia
  • phone numbers for the Emergency Department

Press releases were attended to make community aware of the new service.

Evaluation

Patient surveys were done at the first clinic to establish what the clinic in Moree meant to the patient.

Evaluation 6 months after commencement of Oncology Service/ patient survey:

  • patients were very pleased to have local service
  • patients would like dedicated chemotherapy room rather than share the renal resources
  • financial strain reduced by not having to travel to Tamworth
  • not having to travel to Tamworth means families no longer need to take the day off work
  • clinics were running smoothly
  • chemotherapy treatments increased in number
  • oncology consults have doubled and now Dr George brings registrars to Moree so that more patients can be seen locally
  • patient stories were collected to record the difference local service could make.

Contact


Clinical Nurse Manager, Moree
Hunter New England Local Health District
Phone: 02 6757 0009

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