Health Minister Yvette D’Ath

December 16, 2020

Queensland Health will create a “Nurse Navigator Cancer Care and Chronic Disease” role – based in Toowoomba – to service cancer patients in the South Burnett and beyond.

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath made the announcement while responding to petitions lodged with the State Government earlier this year from South Burnett residents urging the reinstatement of a South Burnett Specialist Cancer Nurse.

The two petitions were tabled in Parliament on September 8 but an earlier “substantive” response was not forthcoming because the State Government was in caretaker mode.

In her December 8 response, Ms D’Ath repeated earlier advice from Darling Downs Health that stated after a review in 2019 the specialist Nurse Navigator Cancer Care position had become a Generalist Nurse Navigator role.

“Generalist Nurse Navigators work across multiple specialities and service settings, with the scope of the role focused on the patient and their journey, and not limited by specific complex care needs,” a Darling Downs Health spokesperson said at the time.

“A Generalist Nurse Navigator can assist patients who have a diagnosis of cancer to navigate the health system in collaboration with the specialist cancer care team, and assist with connection to all other health providers involved in each patient’s care.

“By changing the South Burnett Nurse Navigator Cancer Care position to a Generalist Nurse Navigator position, we have opened the South Burnett nurse navigator service up to benefit all local patients with complex health care needs, including cancer patients.”

Ms D’Ath said she had been advised the review of the service model ensured the services provided by the various nurse navigator roles “were aligned to the needs of the communities across the Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service region”.

“The review, which included consultation with all affected staff, resulted in a change to the Nurse Navigator roles to include several generalist positions in order to better serve the community by providing support across multiple specialities rather than being focussed on one area such as cancer care,” Mrs D’Ath said.

“The review concluded that while a role dedicated to cancer care patients in the South Burnett was beneficial to the patients assisted by this role, a different service model could provide valuable care and support to a broader range of patients.

“The generalist Nurse Navigators will assist patients in the South Burnett community who have a diagnosis of cancer to navigate the health system and assist with connection to all other health providers involved in that patient’s care.

“In addition to the generalist Nurse Navigator roles, a Nurse Navigator Cancer Care and Chronic Disease position with responsibility for the whole Darling Downs Region has been recruited to further assist patients.

“This role will be based in Toowoomba and the Nurse Navigator will travel on a regular basis to assist patients within the South Burnett region.

“I trust this information is of assistance to the petitioners.”

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