Radiation treatment campaign steps up

Radiation treatment campaign steps up

Members of the Limestone Coast Radiation Therapy Working Group (LCRTWG) have taken the next step in advocating for a radiation therapy treatment centre in the region.

The former Coalition Government allocated $4.3m in 2019 to fund radiation therapy equipment in the Limestone Coast.

Despite Federal funding for the proposal, plans to deliver radiation treatment to the region were halted when the State Government refused to support the proposal with ongoing funding to cover out of pocket costs for patients.

A petition created last year by the LCRTWG in support of the radiation treatment centre received over 20,000 signatures from Limestone Coast community members which caused a legislative review in state parliament and led to Health and Wellbeing Minister Chris Picton committing to a feasibility study.

Last week the LCRTWG met with consultancy group Health Q Consulting which has been assigned to undertake the radiation therapy feasibility study.

Limestone Coast Radiation Therapy Working Group chair Lachlan Haynes said members felt as though they received a fair hearing in which they were able to “put forward all our arguments and thoughts in support of treatment coming to the region”.

“We had about a one and a half hour meeting in Tony Pasin’s office and we had a really good frank exchange with them,” he said.

“We put forward all the really strong points and arguments we felt towards the feasibility study of why we believe we have a very strong and compelling case to get radiation treatment in the Limestone Coast.

“We were basically given the opportunity to go right through all the points we have made for so long in the petiton and in the community as to why we think this area is in need and why we can support that sort of treatment and why it would be beneficial to the state, particularly as it is one of the only states in Australia that still only has radiation treatment in its main city.”

Mr Haynes said the group discussed the impact travelling for potentially lifesaving radiation treatment has on the patient, their family, community, friends, workplace and finances.

“The personal cost to individuals and their families is huge so we emphasised all those points on a human level and a financial level,” he said.

“We definitely made a strong representation there may be false economies from the government too in they have to pay PATS, they may have to fly people via RFDS and the Red Cross car.

“We re-emphasised that we want that money that already lies on the table from the Federal Government to be allocated to what it was meant to be back in 2019 for this project.”

The consultation group met with local Health Advisory Councils, various community groups and cancer support groups including the Limestone Coast Prostate Cancer Support Group, Mount Gambier Breast Cancer Awareness Group and the Mount Gambier Cancer Support Group.

“They have taken in a wide amount of consultation from various groups and I am sure they would have all put forward a very strong argument about the compelling reasons why we would want that treatment down here,” Mr Haynes said.

Mr Haynes encourages everyone to complete and share a short survey to register the interest for radiation treatment in the Limestone Coast.

The survey closes this Wednesday, April 6 at 5pm.

The feasibility study is expected to be compiled by June with a report presented to the government and the Limestone Coast Local Health Network.

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