WIMMERA Health Care Group is one of three regional services supporting Stawell oncology patients after Stawell Regional Health announced they have had to reduce oncology support due to a lack of nurses.
The health service made the announcement about the temporary reduction for day oncology services on Thursday, October 7 along with apologies for any inconvenience.
A SRH spokesperson said the reduction in service was due to staffing.
"Due to the sudden and significant reduction in nursing workforce in day oncology (unrelated to COVID reasons) we had to make the decision to implement our strategy of transferring systemic (chemotherapy) treatment of day oncology patients to nearby facilities for approximately an eight week period," they said.
"It truly is the perfect storm of individual circumstances that has led to us having almost no currently experienced oncology nurses available to operate the unit."
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No other services are expected to be impacted and the following services Stawell Austin Radiation Therapy Service (SAROS) for skin cancer treatment and on-site and telehealth Oncologists outpatient clinics are still available.
The SRH team have worked closely with the respective departments at Ballarat Health Service, Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre, Wimmera Health Care Group and East Grampians Health Services attempt to seek additional staff for the Day Care unit but the locations were unable to share resources at this stage.
The spokesperson said strategy planning for a COVID-19 response has been the most feasible option during the current situation.
"SRH are currently working with the Oncology teams at our partner services and in consultation with their ongoing treating oncologists - patients will therefore continue to receive their services from their current oncologists as required at either Horsham, Ararat or Ballarat facilities," they said.
The health service have employed an Oncology Resource Nurse to support their patients through the logistics of transferring treatment.
"This includes helping with making their appointments at different locations and support people to ensure they can access the necessary resources and transport to travel," the spokesperson said.
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