Bendigo Health will provide an additional 15,000 specialist clinic appointments to Central Victorians thanks to a funding boost from the State Government.
Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos on Wednesday visited Bendigo Health to announce an extra 125,000 appointments across rural and regional Victoria in 2019-20.
Specialist appointments will be available in cardiology, oncology, geriatrics, paediatrics, haematology, general and respiratory medicine and orthopaedics at Bendigo Health.
Bendigo Health Executive Director of Clinical Operations Robyn Lindsay said the hospital will open 22 new clinics over the next 12 months, including a hip dysplasia clinic for newborn babies and a paediatric behavioural clinic.
“We had 90,000 patients through our specialist clinics last year so to have an extra 15,000 available is great for our service and community,” she said.
Ms Lindsay said she did not anticipate Bendigo Health would have difficulty in recruiting specialists to the relevant clinics.
One of the clinics supported by the funding is Bendigo Health’s Symptom and Urgent Review Clinic (SURC).
The SURC allows cancer patients experiencing symptoms of their disease or chemotherapy treatment to get advice form a specialist nurse and avoid the emergency department.
Cancer patient Wendy Netherway (pictured above) is one of a number of patients who had a positive experience with SURC.
The State Budget 2019-20 will fund an extra 500,000 specialist appointments for Victorians across the next four years, meaning more regional patients will have improved access to high-quality care.
“We know that for people battling illness the last thing they need is to incur the costs of private specialists and the time of travelling to Melbourne to access the specialists they need,” Minister Mikakos said.
“Thousands of rural Victorians are forced to travel far from home just to get the specialist care they need. We’re changing that with a massive boost to bring specialist care closer to home in Bendigo.”