Sunday, August 10, 2008

Closure of cancer clinic disadvantages consumers

The ACT’s largest private hospital Calvary John James Hospital is planning to close its cancer clinic by the end of September. It is understood that the cancer clinic is financially unsustainable, like the Wanniassa Medical Centre whose imminent closure was announced last week.

There has been considerable coverage in the media with the local ABC and The Canberra Times picking up this story.

The Cancer Unit at Calvary John James, which was open four days a week, treated about 70 patients. While most of the patients would be able to continue private treatment at the Zita Mary Clinic at Calvary Hospital, Bruce; or at National Capital Private Hospital, at Garran, services in the public sector at the Canberra Hospital were already stretched, and it would be difficult for the private patients to be absorbed there.

The commercial imperatives observed by both health funds and private sector health providers cannot be ignored, but should not override the public interest because of their need to provide a return to their shareholders

Russell McGowan has commented on this. He said:

“Vulnerable people will suffer because of the failure by health insurance funds to support key Canberra health services. People may be able to get suitable treatment elsewhere, but having to face these changes will be another impediment for consumers to confront at a time when they are least able to deal with the extra stress”
"Ensuring continuity of care in the one location is an important element in providing the safe, high quality and affordable care that is essential in obtaining optimal outcomes from cancer treatment.”

We would invite you to contact the office with your thoughts on this matter.

We have issues a press release (87kb Pdf) that can be found on our website.

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