"Cancer treatment and chemo"

About: Sale Hospital / Oncology

(as the patient),

I just want to highlight my thoughts, some good and not so good, of cancer treatment at my local hospital. To me, cancer treatment is a scary thing. Thank god for nurses who go above and beyond to help professionally and personally. I experience quite a lot of anxiety when I attend for my chemotherapy. All of the staff in our new treatment ward are amazing at what they do. My issue lays with the lack of time our visiting Oncologist has to spend with his patients. Oncology works 3 days a week, but the Oncologist only spends one day a week consulting with patients. He is a lovely man, however I do not believe he has enough time to consult. You are lucky to get 5 minutes with him. I also think there is a greater need for a dedicated chemo nurse who can attend your appointments and be available to answer any questions, sitting in on consultations with the oncologist. My other issues with the chemo ward are the lack of car parking and meals! The areas surrounding the hospital have a huge lack of parking and if you do get a park, it is a 2 hour zone. Many chemo infusions are longer than 2 hours! The lunches provided consist of, what I consider to be, terrible sandwiches. Altered taste and smell and nausea are a big side effect of chemotherapy. Offering tomato and raw onion sandwiches (which is what is included in the mix) is not appetising. I hope my feedback can help make some changes to the oncology services.

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Responses

Response from Frank Evans, CEO, Central Gippsland Health We are preparing to make a change

picture of Frank Evans

Dear concerned patient

Thank you for telling us your story and sharing both the good and the not so good with us.

I am very pleased to hear such positive feedback about our nursing staff working in our new unit. I will take a lot of pleasure in passing on your positive feedback. You are probably aware that redevelopment was funded largely by the community and we are so grateful to the many people and organisations who made it possible.

Now, to respond to the "not so good".

In summary: many of the issues you have raised we are currently working on and with regard to the others, due to your feedback, we soon will be.

"lack of time our visiting Oncologist has to spend with his patients"

We are very fortunate to have such a dedicated and capable oncologist and I agree that he has too much to do and too many patients to see.

We are currently in the process of recruiting a Haematologist to join our team. As you likely know, haematologists treat blood cancers which comprise a significant percentage of all cancers. If we are successful, we will reduce the workload of our oncologist and be able to treat more patients locally.

"Greater need for a dedicated chemo nurse who can attend your appointments and be available to answer any questions, sitting in on consultations with the oncologist."

While all our nurses working in our oncology unit are dedicated chemotherapy nurses, I don't think they attend the patient consultations with the oncologist. I will look into this with our Director of Nursing, Nurse Unit Manager and oncology nurses. It may be possible for a chemo nurse to attend the consultations with the oncologist and then spend time with the patient to answer questions and provide additional support.

"Car parking"

We have a car parking working group comprised of a number of consumers and staff, including myself. We will look into how we can improve parking for oncology patients, including whether or not we can dedicate some spaces close to the unit. To date the group has been successful in creating a large number of additional spaces within and around the health service.

"Food"

I am really interested in your feedback and keen to look into how we can provide more choice for our chemotherapy patients. I will establish a small working group to look into improving the food choices, including getting more feedback from our patients.

If you would like to contact me or meet with me, please feel free to contact me on 51438319 or by email at frank.evans@cghs.com.au

Thank you once again for telling us your story and please be assured that your feedback will help us to improve our service.

Kind Regards

Frank

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