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Oncology outreach clinic coming soon

Oncology outreach clinic coming soon

Eastern Bay cancer sufferers will soon have vital services provided closer to home with the arrival of the Oncology Outreach Clinic based at Whakatane Hospital from 12 April.

Previously, cancer patients requiring regular follow-up outpatients appointments with medical oncology and radiation oncology specialists had to travel as far as Waikato or Tauranga Hospitals for an appointment.

From 12 April, four specialist consultants and up to three registrars will travel on a monthly basis from their base at Waikato Hospital to provide a range of medical services. This will include medical oncology, radiation oncology, haematology and renal services.

Hospital Ambulatory Care and Support Services Manager, Kerrie Freeman, says that the team at Whakatane is delighted to have an oncology outreach service.

“The Whakatane Hospital oncology staff are looking forward to working more closely with the cancer specialists from Waikato to enable better access to cancer services for patients in the Eastern Bay of Plenty,” says Mrs Freeman.

The clinic will run once a month, and 130 patients have been booked for the inaugural clinic next week. Mrs Freeman says this number will vary from month to month, but it is certainly an indication of the demand for this essential service.

Patients requiring radiotherapy will still continue to receive this through Waikato Hospital.

There is currently a worldwide shortage of cancer specialists and the Bay of Plenty District Health Board has been trying to recruit a medical oncologist.

There are only six regional oncology centres in New Zealand, which provide medical oncology, radiation oncology, and haematology services. These centres are based in Auckland, Hamilton, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

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