PLACEMENT of prostate cancer nurses have been announced at Orange Base Hospital, forcing patients from Dubbo and further to travel once again.
Fourteen specialist prostate cancer nurses will provide support for patients, their families and carers, particularly in rural and regional areas.
Orange is only about a one-and-a-half hour drive away for Dubbo residents, but John Allen facilitator of the Prostate Cancer Support Group said he worries for those who have to travel further.
“For example patients in Bourke are already four hours away from Dubbo, traveling to Orange means they have to travel six hours,” Mr Allen said.
“It’s not a short trip.”
Mr Allen is disappointed Dubbo is continually overlooked for updated cancer services.
“We had a feeling it wasn’t going to come to Dubbo,” Mr Allen said.
“I don’t think it’s fair, we need a prostate cancer nurse that can travel to Dubbo.
“There should be one in Dubbo really, but there should be one that can at least travel.”
Doctors can be difficult to contact at times but Mr Allen, a prostate cancer survivor himself, said patients needed support.
“Some men need to be able to speak to someone when the doctor is unavailable,” he said.
“That’s one of the things the prostate cancer nurses do.”
Mr Allen said there were 21 percent more prostate cancer-related deaths among rural patients than those in metropolitan areas.
He added Dubbo still needed a lot of improvements to be on par with urban hospitals.
“There’s a big difference between here and Sydney,” he said.
“We’ve got good services here in urology, but there should be more government help for those that have to travel.”
The nursing placements are part of the Prostate Cancer Federation of Australia’s (PCFA) Prostate Cancer Specialist Nursing Program.
A total of $6.2 million was committed by the federal government to the PCFA from 2013 to 2017 to select sites, facilitate training and fund the placement of the positions.
Minister for Health Peter Dutton said the new positions were a positive for the area.
“Increasing the number of specialist prostate cancer nurses means more men will have access to nurses, who will provide vital information, care, and practical and emotional support to men diagnosed with prostate cancer, their families and carers.”
The funding means the program can continue operations and continue to assist patients and their families, Associate Professor Anthony Lowe PCFA CEO said.
“Today’s announcement about the latest nurses inducted into our program will change the lives of many Australians who are dealing with a prostate cancer diagnosis,” he said.
“These specialist nurses form a critical aspect of ongoing prostate cancer care that helps families navigate around difficult areas such as treatment and ongoing hospital visits.”
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