Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington has written to the Darling Downs Hospital and Health Board

March 13, 2020

Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington has written to the Darling Downs Hospital and Health Board about the scrapping of the Nurse Navigator Cancer Care role at Kingaroy Hospital.

The position was created in April 2017 and assisted about 150 people in the South Burnett before it was axed in December last year.

At that time, the nurse employed was still working with 76 clients.

A spokesperson for Darling Downs Health told southburnett.com.au on Thursday a “generalist” Nurse Navigator position had been created to cater for all patients to replace the specialist cancer support role “to better meet the chronic and complex health needs of the Darling Downs Health community”.

“While I appreciate and value the important role of Nurse Navigators in our health system, I am concerned that the South Burnett has lost a vital service with the role no longer focusing specifically on cancer care,” Mrs Frecklington said.

 “When I found out about this change, I wrote to the Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service Board to highlight these concerns and request they reconsider returning the role.

“There is an obvious need for cancer care professionals in our region, and it is concerning that a role which had been operating for nearly two years, and which was highly valued and appreciated by cancer patients, has been lost.”

In her letter to Board chairman Mike Horan, Mrs Frecklington said feedback indicated cancer patients appreciated and needed this tailored health care service.

“I also note that there is a large number of cancer patients in the South Burnett,” she wrote.

“In Murgon, Cherbourg and Wondai, the rate of people dying from cancer is 15 per cent above the national average and in Kingaroy and Kumbia it is 9 per cent higher.

“Prior to the change in role, the Nurse Navigator Cancer Care had 76 active clients, with 10-12 new referrals each month.

“There is an obvious need for cancer care professionals in our region and it is concerning that a service which had been working so well has been changed.

“On behalf of cancer patients in the South Burnett, I request consideration of the return of a Nurse Navigator Cancer Care role to the South Burnett.”

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One Response to "MP Queries Axing Of Cancer Role"

  1. Carol Fleischfresser  March 14, 2020

    Our community needs to be proactive on this issue. As a two-time cancer survivor who had many trips to Brisbane over the years and still to this day has regular checks, I cannot express the necessity for support in our South Burnett community.

    When I left the hospital in Brisbane, I was immediately contacted by the Breast Care Nurse in Kingaroy and have had wonderful psychological and post medical support, which has helped me to cope during times of hopelessness.

    There are so many areas in which a Nurse Navigator or, in my case, Breast Care Nurse, connecting you to your local pharmacy to have all your medication reviewed by a professional pharmacist to reassure you that the regular medication you take every day is compatible to your new regime of painkillers etc. This gave me a true sense that my medical needs were being monitored not only from Brisbane but my community’s medical fraternity.

    Until you have been in this cancer medical minefield you cannot imagine how a rural patient relies on a specialized Cancer service. The cities have tremendous help from various organisations. Yes a lot of us donate to them, but their main focus is when you are connected to the city environment.

    We need our Nurse Navigator to be reinstated. How do you take away the service when a nurse has built a relationship with his/her individual patient, then next thing is replaced by a stranger who has to start all over again to know your particular needs. Not everything is recorded in face-to-face contact or perhaps a telephone call which comes (ironically) on the day you just need to talk to a professional helper. It comes after you have built up a relationship with your cancer nurse.

    I commend all nurses in our Kingaroy Hospital, but I believe generalised nursing is very different to “specialized” nursing. Cancer is a specialized field of expertise. Our rural communities deserve better than what has been handed down to our community in the South Burnett.


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