Health partnership delivers specialist care in Bundaberg

31/May/2023     HealthMater Group

A number of Wide Bay patients requiring public urological care may no longer have to travel to Brisbane for treatment, thanks to an agreement between Mater Private Hospital Bundaberg, Mater Hospital Brisbane and the Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service (WBHHS).

Under the agreement, eligible public day procedure patients – determined by factors such as procedure type and complexity - will be recommended for surgical transfer to Mater Private Hospital Bundaberg.

Mater Private Hospital Bundaberg General Manager Catherine Hackney said the partnership will be a game-changer for patients seeking care for bladder difficulties and other urological conditions.

“This is an exciting collaboration to address a gap in services in Wide Bay and, in turn, improve the health and wellbeing of those in our community,” Ms Hackney said.

“It’s a great demonstration of how Mater can draw on its expertise and resources across all of its health services across Queensland to deliver high-quality care to those who need it most.

“We’re already hearing positive feedback and stories of appreciation from those who have benefitted from these urology services, which is wonderful to hear.”

Wide Bay Hospital and Health Board Chairperson Peta Jamieson said this initiative demonstrated the health service’s commitment to ensuring equity and access for all patients.

“We’re thankful that Mater is a valuable partner that will be able to provide urology services locally in Bundaberg. Offering services locally makes a real difference to patients and ensures they can receive the same care that they would receive if they lived in Brisbane,” Ms Jamieson said.

“Securing a local urology service through working with the Mater is a great example of WBHHS acting on two of our strategic plan objectives of providing equity and access for all people in our region and fostering partnerships so we can better serve our community.”

Fay Steel is one of the patients to have benefitted from the agreement.

The 89-year-old Bundaberg resident underwent a urological procedure earlier this month.

Her husband John Steel said being able to have the treatment locally made the world of difference. 

“In the past we have had to travel to Brisbane by train, stay at a hotel, Fay would have her treatment and then we’d catch the train home,” Mr Steel said.

“We’re getting a bit frail, so being able to access the services locally makes it much easier for both of us – we’re very much looking forward to future treatments being here in Bundaberg.”

WBHHS Chief Executive Debbie Carroll said bringing a specialist public urology service back to Bundaberg would make a real difference to the health and wellbeing of many locals in the same situation as Mrs Steel.

“Traveling to Brisbane for specialist care is disruptive to patients’ daily lives, takes them away from their support networks and, for some patients, can be physically difficult due to other medical conditions or mobility issues,” Ms Carroll said.

“Removing this barrier and bringing urology back to Bundaberg is a great win for our patients – it’s giving them the right care in the right place at the right time.”

Urologist Dr Andrew Strahan consults at Mater Private Hospital Redland and will visit Mater Private Hospital Bundaberg every two to four weeks under the agreement.

“There is a significant lack of public urological care in Wide Bay, with no one previously servicing the region,” said Dr Strahan. 

“For most patients, the time spent travelling to Brisbane far exceeds the time actually spent in theatre.

“Being able to see someone locally makes a big difference to many of these patients.

“I also grew up in Bundaberg – it’s home – so this was an opportunity to give back to the community I grew up in.”

Twenty-five patients have already benefitted from the agreement between Mater and Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service.

Mater Hospital Brisbane Urology will continue to provide all public urology services for Wide Bay community through its current agreement through its outreach model.

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