UWS supports Bathurst patients’ access to specialist medical services

The University of Western Sydney's Rural Clinical School in Bathurst has answered a community call for support for a transport service for cancer patients seeking specialised treatment with a $10,000 donation to Bathurst Community Transport. 

The University's donation will assist the continuation of a 12 month trial providing transport for patients from Bathurst to Orange for radiotherapy at the hospital's new linear accelerator.

Associate Professor Tim McCrossin, Clinical Dean at the Bathurst Rural Clinical School, which is part of the UWS School of Medicine, says the financial support is in keeping with the School's growing connection with the region's community. 

"Supporting Bathurst Community Transport's new initiative to assist Bathurst residents to access specialist health services in Orange is one practical way to help improve the health and wellbeing of patients as well as the family and friends who are often called upon to help them get to appointments," says Associate Professor McCrossin. 

"Since the University of Western Sydney arrived in Bathurst in 2010 we have been warmly welcomed by the community. Our students are benefiting from the knowledge and experience of local health professionals through an active involvement in the community at the hospital, in local GP clinics and other community-based health services." 

Manager of Bathurst Community Transport (BCT), Leonie Schumacher, welcomes the support from UWS. 

"I am humbled by the generous donation from the UWS Rural Clinical School in Bathurst.  Through the strong support of UWS, other organisations in the region, local residents and, importantly, our wonderful volunteers we can deliver a vital service which makes a real difference in people's lives," says Ms Schumacher. 

"Often people undergoing cancer treatments aren't well enough to drive themselves to medical appointments. Patients often have to rely on family, friends and neighbours to get them to where they need to go, while other patients forgo treatment because they are unable to or feel they can't call on others for help.  Our service provides patients with independence so they can still access essential medical services." 

In the past year Bathurst Community Transport has received over 50 requests from people needing assistance to access the new radiation treatments offered at Orange Base Hospital; but until the support of UWS, and others BCT, was unable to help. Now there is a transport service which departs Daffodil Cottage in Bathurst at 9am and returns from Orange at 12 noon.  Appointments at Orange are clustered to ensure minimal waiting times. 

Many of the patients accessing the Bathurst Community Transport service and Daffodil Cottage are well known to UWS medical students says Professor Graham Stevens, Director of Radiation Oncology with the NSW Health Central West Cancer Service and Professor of Oncology in the Bathurst Rural Clinical in the UWS School of Medicine. 

"Ten UWS students are based at the Rural Clinical School in Bathurst, with all students completing an oncology rotation where they closely follow patients' treatment," says Professor Stevens. 

Recently UWS has also increased its support to the Oncology Service at Daffodil Cottage and will contribute to the salaries of two Orange-based doctors who will provide new services in Bathurst in 2013. The doctors will also play a key role teaching UWS medical students. 

UWS medical students in their 4th and 5th years spend twelve months working in the Bathurst community at the hospital and in other local healthcare settings, such as GP clinics. 

Two graduates from the UWS School of Medicine have returned to the Bathurst region to complete part of their internships as doctors.

8 November 2012 

Media contact: Paul Grocott, Senior Media Officer