It has already been a long journey for Graham and Merryl Armitage since Graham was first diagnosed with cancer in 2012.
But the road has gotten a little shorter now that Graham is able to receive some of his treatment at the Dalby Hospital, instead of having to travel to Toowoomba once a month.
Previously they had to undertake a four hour round trip from their home outside Chinchilla, which meant precious time away from the motel business they operate there.
Mr Armitage, who is receiving treatment for cancer, will still have to travel to Toowoomba on occasion to see his oncologist in person but in the meantime has begun receiving the rest of his treatment in Dalby.
The process involves using videoconferencing to speak to his doctor in Toowoomba and then having Dalby hospital nursing staff administer his treatment on the day. On this occasion, Mr Armitage is discussing with his oncologist Dr Pokharel the new drug he will begin taking and any further treatments he may require.
Dalby Hospital Registered Nurse Nicole McKernan undertook specific competencies and practical training in the Toowoomba Regional Cancer Centre to enable her to take on the role.
The hospital is also in the process of training another local nurse to be able to assist. The service will be supported by staff from the Toowoomba Regional Cancer Centre.
Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service (DDHHS) Acting Clinical Redesign and Innovation Manager Shayne Stenhouse said the new service is only available at this stage to Western Downs patients undergoing specific kinds of cancer treatment and infusion and supportive therapies
“We hope to be able to expand this new service model to other rural hospitals in the DDHHS as well as the South West Hospital and Health Service as it means that more patients are able to be treated closer to home”.
“It’s great that we can provide this service locally for patients in Dalby and it also means we’re upskilling the staff here in something they previously wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do,” Mr Stenhouse said.
Mr Armitage was full of praise for the service he has received in Toowoomba and Dalby.
“People like to complain about Queensland Health but I reckon they’re wonderful. Look at how much they’ve done for me to be able to receive treatment closer to my home,” he said.
Anyone who would like to find out if they are able to receive their cancer treatment at Dalby Hospital can contact the Regional Cancer Services Outpatients Clinic on 4616 5061 or speak to their oncologist.