Select cancer treatments will begin at Kempsey District Hospital in early 2024.
Local charity Lilli Pilli Ladies have been advocating for cancer treatments closer to home on behalf of the Kempsey Shire community since its beginnings in 2016.
Recently they got the go ahead to commence low risk cancer treatments at the Kempsey hospital in March next year.
The group held a public forum in September (2023) for the community where attendees could sign a petition. This was followed by a meeting with Mid North Coast Local Health District (MNCLHD) representatives.
Members of the charity and its support partner 'Friends of Lilli Pilli Ladies' met with MNCLHD Chief Executive Stewart Dowrick, District Director Integrated Care, Allied Health and Community Services Jill Wong and District Manager Cancer Services Emily Saul.
Their message: urgent need for oncology services at Kempsey District Hospital.
And they were heard.
Previously announced federal government funding will now be used to refurbish the infusion room at Kempsey District Hospital to be fully operational, and upgrade IT services for better support networked care delivery.
Lilli Pilli Ladies President Judy Saul says the outcome is "wonderful news" for the Macleay Valley who will not have to Port Macquarie and beyond for treatment.
"This will save the community from travelling far for treatment," said Ms Saul.
"Transport is expensive...people are forgoing treatment because they can't afford to get there."
The services will also better support Kempsey hospital staff.
"This means staff will not have to be as run off their feet," said Ms Saul. "It's such a busy unit."
Ms Saul says together with the support of the community and MNCLHD, they have achieved the result "we have all been working so hard towards."
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