More funding for public-private cancer treatment
UPDATE: A public-private partnership to provide cancer treatment will be further developed by the Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service thanks to State Government funding.
WBHHS chief executive Adrian Pennington said the State Government had agreed to recurrent funding after a six-month trial partnership with Oceania to deliver radiation oncology to public patients in Bundaberg ended in June.
The funding is understood to be worth about $3.7 million annually.
"The public-private partnership model for cancer treatment has proved to be an efficient method of treating people with cancer closer to their homes," Mr Pennington said.
"Funding has now been secured between July 2014 and June 2015.
"We plan to secure a private partner to extend access to radiation oncology services across the entire Wide Bay.
"From 2015, there is an expectation that the successful company will provide the radiation oncology service out of facilities in Bundaberg and Hervey Bay for a minimum period of three years."
He said low and medium-risk cancer patients who met the criteria for radiation oncology would be eligible for treatment but high-risk patients would still need to be treated at tertiary facilities.
Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said the strategic direction helped repatriate new services to the Wide Bay.
He also praised the turnaround in dental waiting times.
"The dental waiting lists we inherited as a government were out of control," Mr Springborg said.
"I commend the leadership of Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service and board in fighting back against these daunting figures.
"It show that planning and efficiency equate to more local people getting better oral health care in a more timely fashion."
Malcolm Donaldson, executive director oral health, said figures showed in April 2013 there were 9378 patients in the Wide Bay who had been waiting more than two years for treatment.
"There is now nobody waiting more than 19 months in the Wide Bay for oral health care in the public system," he said.
"Plenty of work is still ahead of us but there have been some very positive developments in the past year."
WBHHS board chairman Dominic Devine said with new chairs planned for Hervey Bay and Bundaberg, he was confident the service's capacity would align with the region's needs in the future.
- By 2015, WBHHS will offer special-needs dental surgery in Hervey Bay, Maryborough and Bundaberg with the Bundaberg and Hervey Bay dental surgeries to be co-located with cancer care
- Maryborough Hospital has increased its dental chairs from six to 15 by the end of March with a plan to have no waiting list by June 30, 2015
- WBHHS's dental capacity in Hervey Bay will increase from eight to 16 dental chairs by 2015
- Dental care waiting lists in Hervey Bay have fallen from 108 months to 19 months since April 2013
- Dental care waiting lists in Maryborough have fallen from 98 months to eight months since April 2013
- Dental care waiting lists in Childers have falled from 77 months to seven months since April 2013
- Dental care waiting lists in Gayndah have fallen from 50 months to 19 months since April 2013
EARLIER: Health Minister Lawrence Springborg is visiting Hervey Bay Hospital on Tuesday morning and Maryborough Base Hospital about lunchtime to make announcements.
A media conference has been scheduled for 9.15am at Hervey Bay Hospital.
The Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service unveiled it's strategic plan 2014-2017 on Monday last week.