ACT News


Cancer patients battle cuts

Cancer patients in the Young district say they are devastated by the looming end of regular visits from Canberra Hospital oncologists.

Two ACT oncologists visit the Young Oncology Centre each month but patients were told this week the visits would cease due to service demands in the ACT.

Patients were initially advised that the service would end within a week but were later told it would continue until the middle of next year when doctors from Wagga Wagga begin a new visiting service.

Breast cancer patient Virginia Allison said she and other patients wanted to keep seeing their present specialists. ''I don't want to lose my oncologist. If you take my oncologist away from me, let the cancer do its thing, I've had enough,'' Mrs Allison said.

''If I could go to Canberra and see him that's what I'll do, but how would that work?

''If they're full over there [at Canberra Hospital], they're not going to be able to fit us in. Once again the rural people are being kicked and I don't know why.''


The ACT government said the Territory's Health Directorate did not directly provide health services to Young.

''The Murrumbidgee Local Health District contracts the two doctors that are from the ACT as visiting medical officers and they work under their rights to private practice,'' a Health Directorate spokeswoman said.

''They may be Canberra-based but they are not working at Young as employees of ACT Health Directorate. It is important to note that this decision is not as a result of a directive from the Health Directorate.''

Cancer patients from the Young district would still be eligible for referral to services at Canberra Hospital.

The Murrumbidgee Local Health District said oncology medical specialist and chemotherapy services would continue to be provided at the Young oncology unit and services would continue during a handover period.