Innovative telehealth technology and a skilled local workforce have created the opportunity for low-risk chemotherapy services to be administered at Broome Hospital, as well as the newly redeveloped $50 million Narrogin Health Service.
TeleChemotherapy is a model of care that enables some cancer patients to receive low-risk chemotherapy locally with the support of specialist metropolitan-based clinicians via videoconferencing technology, known as telehealth. Western Australia’s first TeleChemotherapy site commenced at Karratha Health Campus in October last year.
Current travel restrictions in the Kimberley region as a result of COVID-19, make the McGowan Government’s commencement of the TeleChemotherapy service in Broome even more vital to local cancer patients.
Telehealth is driving innovation in country cancer care, and both Broome Hospital and Narrogin Health Campus’s TeleChemotherapy services will improve the treatment experience for country patients by reducing the need to be away from home during low-risk cancer treatments.
The new service will have a significant impact on local patients’ wellbeing by removing the stressors that can come with the need to travel.
At a time when staying local is more important than ever, the TeleChemotherapy model of care enables Kimberley and Wheatbelt cancer patients who meet medical eligibility criteria to receive chemotherapy treatment close to home, fully supported by specialists via telehealth and skilled local staff.
Telehealth technology enables people to be treated closer to home.
The Commonwealth provided $2 million towards the cost of the chemotherapy chairs at the redeveloped Narrogin Health Service.
As stated by Health Minister Roger Cook:
“A lot of emotions would come with receiving a cancer diagnosis, especially at a time of uncertainty in the world.
“TeleChemotherapy, while still in its early months, has already been a great success in the Pilbara.
“That is why I am pleased to announce low-risk chemotherapy treatment is now available closer to home for some Kimberley and Wheatbelt patients.”
As stated by Kimberley MLA Josie Farrer:
“With travel restrictions currently in place within the Kimberley to protect the health and wellbeing of residents during COVID-19, it’s important to offer local options to local people for their health care.
“With the entire Kimberley being a biosecurity area, it is extremely difficult to expect people to be able to quarantine for 14 days before re-entering the Kimberley, especially if they are on chemo cycles every three to four weeks.
“It would have meant people would basically have to move to Perth, away from their loved ones and contributing to what is already a stressful time.
“This is a much better outcome.”
As stated by Agricultural Region MLC Darren West:
“Using technology so that Wheatbelt residents in the Narrogin area can access treatment closer to home is all part of the McGowan Government’s commitment to putting patients first.
“TeleChemotherapy allows suitable country patients to receive chemotherapy on country, supervised by a metropolitan-based cancer specialist using telehealth, reducing the need for patients to travel for treatment.
“I wish to acknowledge the strong support for this service from all sides of politics, as well as the grassroots advocacy of the local Country Women’s Association lobbying for this service locally.”