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Treatment boost at Bass Coast Health

WITH a master plan on the way and works in place to increase capability, Bass Coast Health’s Wonthaggi Hospital is on its way to gaining subregional status.

At a public access meeting held recently, the hospital outlined its plans for new treatment – including telemedicine to rapidly treat stroke patients and brachytherapy for prostate cancer patients – and ongoing modifications to the emergency department.

“Twelve months ago, we spoke about our financial, historical and internal struggles. We told people to bear with us and be kind because we were doing our best. We don’t have to do that anymore,” board chairman Don Paproth said.

“With our outstanding CEO (Jan Child), senior staff and board, we can talk about improving health outcomes and the quality of life for our patients.”

To achieve better health outcomes, Bass Coast Health has increased its partnerships with metro health facilities, which has opened the hospital up to more resources.

One such partnership is with The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health. Through this partnership, Bass Coast Health recently launched its telemedicine program to treat stroke patients.

“Rapid treatment means the difference life, death and disability. This is a huge accolade for Bass Coast Health,” Dr Chris Bladin from the Florey Institute said.

The telemedicine program has been rolled out to 16 hospitals in regional and rural Victoria. The technology allows local doctors to immediately connect with specialists from Melbourne to treat patients efficiently and effectively.

The protocol for stroke patients is to have an urgent cat scan. The technology allows a Melbourne neurologist to quickly have eyes on a patient’s scan and direct local doctors. Doctors can discuss the situation with a specialist, quickly diagnose and begin treatment.

“We are very proud that if you have a stroke in Victoria, you will receive the same level of care in Wonthaggi as you would if you lived five kilometres away from the Royal Melbourne Hospital,” Dr Bladin said.

“It also provides reassurance. One in three calls is not a stroke, but some other neurological condition. One in five patients has stroke thrombolysis and clot busting treatment.”

Bass Coast Health is also looking to start brachytherapy – a new form of radiation treatment for prostate cancer.

According to consultant radiation oncologist Louise Nardone, Gippsland has the worst survival rates for prostate cancer in Victoria, and men are twice as likely to have non curative treatment in Gippsland.

“Access to curative treatment can be an issue, so we have plans to introduce brachytherapy to three centres: Bass Coast Health, Latrobe Regional Hospital and Bairnsdale Regional Health Service,” she said.

Low dose rate brachytherapy treats low or intermediate risk patients. Radioactive seeds are permanently implanted near the tumour and release small amounts of radiation over several months.

Most who receive the treatment can go home the same day, and any swelling usually reduces within a week.

As the hospital begins to treatment more complex patients, the emergency department will be working hard to keep up.

Associate professor and clinical director Garry Wilkes joined the Bass Coast Health team several weeks ago, aiming to lift the capabilities of the emergency department.

“The emergency department is a busy place and appearances have boomed. Last year, the hospital cracked 15,000 patients, and as more services are offered more people will come,” he said.

Professor Wilkes will continue to work with other health organisations to bring more specialists to Wonthaggi.

It is recognised the emergency department is in the wrong spot and relocating it is the priority of the master plan.

Big steps: from left, Bass Coast Health CEO Jan Child, associate professor and clinical director Garry Wilkes, consultant radiation oncologist Louise Nardone and board chairman Don Paproth spoke about the thrilling changes happening at Bass Coast Health at a recent public access meeting.

Short URL: https://thestar.com.au/?p=22532

Posted by on Sep 12 2017. Filed under Featured, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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