CANCER sufferers in Orange and Bathurst continue to be without a medical oncologist as the Western NSW Local Health District (LHD) searches to replace one who has resigned.
The Western NSW LHD is experiencing the effects of a nationwide shortage of medical oncologists according to cancer and palliative care services manager Ruth Jones.
New cancer cases grow by around 3 per cent annually according to the Medical Journal of Australia (MJA) due to a growing population, improved longevity and an increase in detection rates.
The MJA says cancer services and training for medical professionals have struggled to keep pace with the growth.
A number of interim medical oncology services for cancer patients have been put in place while recruitment is underway.
A visiting medical oncologist will service a fortnightly clinic in Orange and arrangements have been secured with Nepean Hospital to see patients from the Orange and Bathurst regions.
Consultations via a telehealth service to Sydney-based medical oncologists allow patients to consult with an oncologist without the need to travel.
Patients are still able to receive their prescribed chemotherapy treatments at Daffodil Cottage in Bathurst and the Central West Cancer Service in Orange.
The vacancy was created by the resignation of a visiting medical oncologist who had serviced the region since 1990.