In a first for NSW, a trial outreach chemotherapy service will start in Coonabarabran on Tuesday October 10.
This new service, Remote Video-Assisted Chemotherapy, allows some patients requiring low-risk chemotherapy to use telehealth to video link in with Dubbo to see their oncologist and have their treatment co-supervised by oncology nurses.
Coonabarabran Health Service Manager, Susan Berry, said the service is an exciting development for the community.
“Low risk chemotherapy patients that have been invited into the program by Doctor Honeyball from Dubbo will be the first to access the new service,” said Ms Berry.
“Initially it is expected that 100-150 chemotherapy treatments per year will be given in Coonabarabran using Remote Video-Assisted Chemotherapy.
“We’re excited to be able to offer this service to the community because it means that people won’t have to travel hours for treatment. This includes the local Aboriginal community many of who now won’t have to travel out of country for this service.
“Local community nurses have been trained in oncology nursing and will work with oncology nurses via telehealth to administer the service.”
Dr Florian Honeyball, medical oncologist based in Dubbo, said that the trial was developed to improve equity of access for Coonabarabran and surrounding communities.
“The Remote Video-Assisted Chemotherapy program in Coonabarabran has been designed not just for the townsfolk, but for those living in surrounding areas such as Binnaway, Baradine, Coolah and Gwabegar – if someone has a preference for treatment in Coonabarabran and the chemotherapy is appropriate for the trial, they will be accommodated,” he said.
“The trial will run in Coonabarabran for one year. Following this, safety and efficiency data will be presented at national and international oncology meetings for scrutiny by other oncologists. If the data suggests that this is an effective way to deliver chemotherapy, we will look to expand the model to other sites across the local health district.”
The new service has been adapted from a Queensland model.