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Published Tuesday 9 May 2017

Wairarapa DHB's huge auction and garage sale last weekend, clearing the decks of surplus hospital furniture and equipment, was a huge success. All proceeds are earmarked to support the establishment of an outreach chemotherapy service in Wairarapa, so that most of our cancer patients won’t have to travel out of the area for much of their chemo treatment.
Pictured: Kevin and Pam Basher with the first item sold under the hammer

Just under $14,000 has been banked to date and there is more to come. The auction was organised by Project Manager, Jill Stringer of the DHB and supported by Cancer Society Wairarapa, Masterton Host Waipua Lions and Property Brokers. Thanks also to Mediaworks, Radio Network, Times Age and Wairarapa News.

Currently Wairarapa patients travel to the Wellington Blood and Cancer Centre (WBCC), the outreach service at Kenepuru Hospital, or to Palmerston North Hospital for their chemotherapy treatment. The travel takes its toll on both patient and family supports, and adds up to three hours to the chemotherapy treatment.

With the government’s emphasis on offering services closer to home and Wairarapa DHB’s focus on an improved patient experience, the provision of a chemotherapy service locally has long been on the wish list.

“There is a lot still to be determined in terms of service provision, and the logistics of developing an outreach service are
complex.” Jill Stringer, project manager said. “But we are excited, all the organisations involved are committed to the initiative, and I am confident we really can make this happen.”

Developing an outreach chemotherapy clinic in Wairarapa would complement the cancer services already being provided to
Wairarapa patients by WBCC, but relies heavily on the significant involvementof a number of organisations to make it work.

Capital & Coast DHB (CCDHB), which runs WBCC, and Cancer Society Wairarapa are supportive of the initiative and the planning is looking positive, although no timeframe has been offered at this point.

“Wairarapa DHB has made alterations to our Day Procedure Unit, Cancer Society Wairarapa has funded the temperature controlled fridge for the cytotoxic drugs, and the training programme for Wairarapa nurses to administer chemotherapy is close to sign off.” says Jill Stringer. “The major limiting factor on when the service could start is recruitment of the specialist function. Once that position is filled, we can really get underway.”

No further fundraisers are planned at this point, although there is some thought going in to what might happen with the itms not sold last weekend.

"I might do another garage sale, and perhaps an up-cycling challenge over winter, once I've recovered from this one!" Jill