Radiation therapy needs tabled

Radiation therapy needs tabled

South Australia’s leading experts and advocates in radiation therapy last week attended a roundtable hosted by the State and Federal Opposition, which highlighted that access to these services is far from optimal and more must be done to close the gap – particularly for those living in regional South Australia.

Representatives from both public and private health care providers were in attendance, providing an opportunity for these professionals to come together and discuss preventative health policy, workforce, research and patient outcomes with both State and Federal MPs.

A key topic of conversation was the continued calls for a dedicated radiation therapy unit to be established in the Limestone Coast.

More than 20,000 people have now signed a petition calling on the State Government to have a dedicated radiation therapy unit established in Mount Gambier.

Shadow Minister for Regional Health Services Penny Pratt said Health Minister Chris Picton “needs to prove the needs of regional South Australians are a priority when it comes to health funding”.

“South Australia continues to be the only state without radiation therapy services located in a regional community and that needs to change,” Ms Pratt said.

“Time is quickly running out for Chris Picton to make a submission to the Federal Health Minister to put regional South Australia forward for a Health Program Grant – otherwise country patients living with cancer lose another 12 months waiting for better access to localised treatment services.

“The Malinauskas Labor Government’s own draft SA Cancer Plan is very clear more needs to be done to address survivorship outcomes for a third of our population living in regional communities.

“The most important overriding principle in the plan is equity of access but it’s silent on optimising access to radiation therapy services outside of Adelaide.”

Federal Shadow Minister for Health and Aged Care Senator Anne Ruston said one of her “biggest priorities in this space is that a person’s postcode should not determine the level of care they are able to receive”.

“The fact that South Australia does not currently have any regional radiotherapy opportunities is disappointing as it means all South Australians must travel to Adelaide to receive treatment, resulting in access being more costly and inequitable,” she said.

“The Federal Government must find ways to ensure the system is fit-for-purpose to incentivise new technologies and treatments in Australia, so that support is available to cancer patients no matter where they live.”

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