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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

Moruya Radiotherapy Unit – A Community Perspective



While checking the evidence base and political statements on the potential for a Radiotherapy Unit (RTU) in Moruya I was surprised that the response to the far south coast

community by NSW Health and the two NSW Health Ministers was so lacking in

transparency with little sign of an appreciation of patient impact and outcomes.


Radiotherapy is a key part of the treatment for various types of cancer. Patients from our

region needing radiotherapy travel long distances daily for weeks on end to receive

treatment or must stay away from home for long periods. Worse still some cancer sufferers do not receive treatment finding the process, particularly the distance travelled too hard.

There is clear evidence from the relevant expert bodies that distance from the RTU is a very

significant factor in lack of access to treatment and poorer outcomes in rural areas. The

Australian Cancer Atlas ( indicates significant excess deaths

from cancer in the Eurobodalla. The far south coast community with its petition of 5000

signatories has raised the more than reasonable question whether this would be improved

by a RTU closer to where people with treatable cancer live.

The importance of reducing the distance to an RTU for rural cancer patients prompted the

previous Lib/Nat Commonwealth government to provide access to funding to support a RTU

in 13 rural/regional centres including the Eurobodalla, and the current Labor government

has doubled the offer. NSW Health did not pursue the offer by the Commonwealth government on both occasions despite there being interest from private RTU providers.

There are RTUs in other parts of regional NSW with similar or smaller populations than the

Far South Coast, so why isn’t there a RTU in Moruya?

Most importantly, there has been no detailed community disclosure of the data and

rationale for the decision or any serious attempt by NSW Health to engage the community

in an informed discussion on this critical issue.

After yet another major petition and a looming election, the Minister for Rural and Regional

Health Bronwyn Taylor issued a more considered response and consultants have been asked to review and report on the RTU issue. The Minister should be commended on her initiative but with the strong proviso that the consultants must publicly report prior to the election so that the community is adequately informed and can vote accordingly.


The Bega electorate is waiting to see what each major party will offer as far as a RTU in

Moruya is concerned and then vote accordingly.

Regardless of who forms government following the election there must be greater

transparency and shared community decision making by NSW Health. So far, past

communication by NSW Health has not been sufficiently community focussed.

Image AUTHOR – Dr. Arn Sprogis (retired)

Now lives in Tuross Head (arrived just before the fires). Prior to retirement he was a had a 30-year history as a rural then regional GP (now retired). During that period, he was also responsible for developing large scale improvements in General Practice systems of care at a regional, state and national level including GP/hospital integration within emergency departments across the Hunter region. In addition to being a GP he was the CEO Hunter Urban Division Of General Practice, Board Member Hunter Urban Medical Local, Chairman Australian Medical Local Alliance and member of the NSW Health Ministers Clinical Council during the previous NSW Labor Government. His lifetime commitment is to get equal access to high quality health care for rural and regional communities.

NOTE: Comments were TRIALED - in the end it failed as humans will be humans and it turned into a pile of merde; only contributed to by just a handful who did little to add to the conversation of the issue at hand. Anyone who would like to contribute an opinion are encouraged to send in a Letter to the Editor where it might be considered for publication

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