Cancer patient’s plea for the Tweed Valley Hospital
A NEW hospital without an important cancer scanner will be a waste of time according to a suffering patient in Tweed.
As finalisations are being prepared for the new Tweed Valley Hospital, which took another step towards completion last month, cancer-suffer Mark Mitchell is pleading with authorities to ensure the new facility has a PET-CT scanner. The scanner is considered one of the most vital machines for cancer treatment, however there is not one in the Tweed Shire.
Patients in the region need to either go to Lismore or Southport for the procedure.
This is a painful and stressful trip for people like Mr Mitchell, who believes the scanner should be the first item put into the new Tweed Valley Hospital.
"If they don't have a PET-CT scanner in the new hospital, they better have a couple of bloody good reasons," Mr Mitchell said.
"It is long overdue and it is well needed.
"This is the start of the process which all other doctors make their decisions on."
Mr Mitchell is driven to Southport anytime he needs a PET-CT scan by a staff member of the Tweed hospital.
He says the drive takes a toll on him not just physically but emotionally as well.
"It takes a lot mentally - I have a driver but it still makes you anxious," he said.
"You are in a hospital you don't know, with staff you don't know either."
Mr Mitchell said implementing the scanner in the new Tweed Valley Hospital would also be beneficial for staff who have to escort patients out of the region.
It is not only patients who are hoping the new hospital has the scanner, with staff equally as desperate for the machine.
Chair of the Medical Staff Council of Tweed Hospital, Mike Lindley-Jones, said he believed the PET-CT scanner should be one of the first things brought into the hospital.
"All doctors at Tweed think it is critical to have a PET-CT scanner in the new Tweed Valley Hospital," Mr Lindley Jones said.
"A PET-CT scanner is a key part of diagnosing and treating patients with cancer.
"Most other areas the same size as the Tweed have this service, including Lismore, Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie which all run smaller cancer services than us.
"Having a cancer services without a PET-CT scanner is like having a car but taking off one of the wheels.
"We think it is an important facility to care for the people of Northern NSW."