CANCER patients might never have to drive to the city for treatment again, with the Wonthaggi Hospital now equipped to offer chemotherapy treatment.
For some, this will mean fewer long journeys to Melbourne hospitals, which will be a great relief to an already unwell patient.
Being able to remove the burden of exhausting trips that are often required multiple times per week, will also ease the impact on families.
Dr George Grigoriadis’ kind nature and passion are evident as he talks about his vision for our community and the care that should be accessible for anyone.
Knowing that his patients feel supported mentally, socially and physically is an important part of George’s care and is all part of the journey in managing Cancer.
According to George, “being able to deliver cancer treatments locally in Bass Coast is a vision I have had for such a long time.
“I have seen so many patients and family members travel the burdensome journey to the Alfred and Monash where I work – it is a great privilege to be part of the team that is working to provide this care locally.”
For the last two Thursdays, George was on-hand to deliver care to the first cancer patients who are being treated with a non-cytotoxic antineoplastic medication.
The patients have been thrilled with the local service. The first patient said: “Not only am I able to have my treatment here but I am also able to have follow up appointments like blood tests and check-ups locally as well.
“This means I don’t have to travel three hours to sit and wait more hours in a busy Melbourne hospital before having to drive home again, it’s very tiring and sometimes I have been so sick, sitting in the car in peak hour traffic just desperate to be home.
“At one stage, we had to travel to Melbourne every day for three weeks so I could receive treatment… that was just awful!”
“It will be much easier for our daughters to visit now too,” added the patient’s husband, who also quietly reminds us that being stuck in peak hour with someone you love being so sick is not a pleasant experience.
Their second patient, Sandy Kelleway, reiterated this positive experience.
“Since George (haematologist) had mentioned that I would be able to come to Wonthaggi Hospital for treatments it has been an enormous relief, not only in reducing the travel time but it also means we don’t have to sit in traffic which is no fun seeing as the treatments can leave me feeling a bit unwell.
“This has come at the perfect time for us. The nurses, doctors and pharmacists have all been amazing and we’ll be back in three months.”
The benefit of local cancer treatment is unmeasurable, and the Bass Coast Health (BCH) team is working hard to make sure everything is ready.
Nurse manager Pat McCabe is developing the policies and procedures and making sure all the staff are well trained.
Pat is working closely with the Cancer Services team from the Alfred who have partnered with BCH to get this service up and running. Planning is also well underway for a newly constructed chemotherapy area funded by the Federal Government which will be ready either late this year, or early next year.
BCH chief executive officer Jan Child said: “We are blessed to have such excellent clinicians of George’s calibre work at BCH.
“He is very passionate about making sure rural communities are not disadvantaged and has been such a strong advocate for developing our services.
“With the backing of the Alfred, I am very confident we will be able to provide contemporary Cancer Care from now into the future.
“We will take it slowly, focussing all the time on making sure we provide this service safely. This will provide a good foundation for us to grow and expand cancer care in the future.”