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Published Thursday 15 Feb 2018

Valentines Day marked the launch of Wairarapa's new chemotherapy service. A long time in the making, chemotherapy is now offered locally to save our cancer patients the trauma of travel every time they receive treatment.

It has been made possible by the support, cooperation and input of the cancer chemotherapy services at Capital & Coast and MidCentral DHBs, and the funding and volunteer support of the Cancer Society.
Until now, Wairarapa cancer patients have all travelled to either Wellington or Palmerston North to receive treatment. Chemotherapy needs to be administered on a regular basis, and the constant travel involved can place unwelcome pressure on patients who are already unwell. The development of the satellite service means that many patients will be able to have some of their treatments locally, saving them the discomfort and inconvenience of having to travel.
Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tom Gibson, says it is important to recognise that the new local service will support, not replace, the chemotherapy services in the two city centres.
“There are some treatments that will still be required to be administered in the main centres for clinical reasons,” he explains. “Our local chemotherapy service is “not every patient, not every treatment, not every time” because, to receive optimal care, some travel will still be required for some patients.”
“However, as the local service develops, we expect that more and more treatments will be able to be provided here in Masterton,” he says.
Chemotherapy will be administered in the day procedure unit in Wairarapa Hospital’s theatre complex. Nursing staff from both theatre services and community oncology are undergoing training, and they will be fully supported by chemotherapy nurses from the two host centres.
“The commitment of senior clinical staff from the Wellington and Palmerston North centres has been integral to the local chemotherapy service, and Wairarapa DHB greatly appreciates support,” Dr Gibson said. “We also acknowledge the help and support received from the Wairarapa branch of the Cancer Society, which raised funds to purchase some of the necessary equipment for the service, and will be providing volunteers to help support patients receiving treatment.”
“The value of the Cancer Society in this work cannot be overstated,” Dr Gibson said.