Cancer clinics cut: Some patients will have to travel for assessments

Several Northward Bay mortal patients instrument person to travelling to City for follow-up assessments after monthly clinics held here for decades were cut.

Sean Barrette, people relations serviceman for the City Regional Hospital, said the “skirting” clinics in cities such as Northwestern Bay and Timmins ended June 1 because there are not sufficiency medical oncologists – a person health-care write.

“Fundamentally, in arrangement for waiting nowadays to be restored and to avoid oncologist burnout, there had to be changes for follow-up want,” Barrette said.

“Volumes of cancer patients are always increasing,” he said, adding the regional centre has been functioning for a couple of years without a full complement of specialists. “It starts to eventually wear on those who are there.”

There were 285 patient visits at the clinics held twice a month in 2009, but Barrette said not all cancer outpatients will be forced to drive to Sudbury for their check ups every six or 12 months.

He said radiology oncologists will still hold clinics in North Bay when appropriate.

“Nobody likes to see any type of reduction in services, but this will ultimately benefit cancer patients. Acute treatment patients will be seen quicker,” he said.

Tiziana Silveri, vice president of surgery and maternal child at North Bay and District Hospital, said teleconferencing will also be an option for some outpatients, noting the quality of the technology has improved greatly.

And Silveri said the chemotherapy clinics providing active treatment are still being held in North Bay.

“There’s no change in that,” she said……..

Barbara Spencer, manager of the North Bay branch of the Canadian Cancer Society, said she is not sure how much more pressure will be put on the travel program which assists people attending appointments.

“Certainly, it was much easier when we had oncologists who were travelling here and it will mean an increase in the travel program, we’ll probably know more in three months,” she said.

The travel program usually costs close to $200,000 a year to run using volunteer drivers, who numbered 73 last year. Spencer said 675 adults and children were transported in 2009 to appointments at hospitals in southern and eastern Ontario, as well as Sudbury, with 3,140 trips overall.

“This year, it will be probably be up,” she said.