New Cancer Services director for Illawarra

Shoalhaven Local Health District Meets with Cancer Outpatients Appeal

The quarterly Governance meeting for the Milton Cancer Services Centre was chaired last week by the recently appointed Director of Cancer Services for the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, Anthony Arnold.

Anthony is a medical radiation therapist who brings experience and enthusiasm to the role of integrating cancer services throughout the Health District. He comes to the position at a time when cancer services are expanding significantly, particularly in the Shoalhaven with the building of the new cancer centre in Nowra which is due for completion in 2013. Anthony explained,” With the completion of the Nowra centre and expansion of Wollongong’s cancer facilities we will have a very comprehensive range of excellent cancer services thoughout the District. We will coordinate our intake process so patients will be directed to the best care available for their particular therapy needs. Having the two facilities in the Shoalhaven means patients will have access to a wider range of services, including radiation therapy, within the Shoalhaven and so will be able to receive care as close to home as possible and, importantly be able to make informed choices about their care and where it will be provided.

“ Many people are unaware of the role they can play in this decision process. In some cases they may have surgery in Sydney, but may still be able to opt for radiation and/or chemotherapy in their local area. Each case is different, but it is important that patients and family members participate in making those decisions in the full knowledge of what services are available to best meet their specific needs.

“ I was very impressed when I toured the Cancer Centre in Milton. It’s a great credit to the southern Shoalhaven community and will play an important role in our overall plan for the provision of cancer services throughout the District. Our quarterly governance meetings with representatives of the Cancer Outpatients Appeal provide an opportunity to review available programs and services and, importantly to identify opportunities to add new services. I am acutely aware of the lobbying the Appeal does to attract specialists to hold their clinics at Milton. While it is not possible at this time, we have committed to hold local specialist clinics when the Nowra centre comes on stream and, in the meantime, we are doing trials on video link consults in appropriate cases using the video conferencing facilities available in Milton. 

“The Appeal has also been lobbying for the introduction of genetic counselling in Milton and we are working on alternative ways this can be achieved in the foreseeable future. The Cancer Outpatients Appeal is a strong voice for the community and an important partner for the District as we develop cancer services into the future. We appreciate their commitment and input.”