With the release of further statistics showing regional cancer sufferers have a poorer prognosis than their city counterparts, Member for Northern Victoria Ms Lovell has continued her push of the Victorian Government to provide radiotherapy services for Goulburn Valley Health.
During this parliament sitting week Ms Lovell once again raised the issue with the Health Minister, calling on the Victorian Government to include radiotherapy services as a priority component of the hospital redevelopment.
“I have raised the need for radiotherapy services at Goulburn Valley Health many times over the last two years in Parliament, and I have been in correspondence with the Federal Minister since late last year,” Ms Lovell said.
“The unfortunate reality is that the need for this service continues to increase – according to a recent report from The Garvan Research Foundation, one in two males and one in three females in Australia will develop cancer.
“These frightening numbers show that cancer really does, and will continue to, impact on every person in our community, whether directly or indirectly, and that local radiotherapy services are a vital requirement for the Goulburn Valley community.”
Like many in the community, Ms Lovell has had personal experience with cancer services during her late father’s battle with secondary bone cancer.
“The travel required for him to access the closest services in Bendigo or Melbourne was very hard, on him and our family, and I do not want other people to have to experience this same struggle,” Ms Lovell said.
The most recent Garvan Research Foundation report – A Rural Perspective: Cancer and Medical Research 2016 – had a number of findings of frightening concern for regional Victorians including that there is ‘a decreased likelihood for patients to undergo radiotherapy in remote and very remote areas’, and at the Pink Ribbon Brunch in Shepparton guest speaker Dr Kerryn Phelps spoke of the desperate need for radiotherapy services to be provided locally.
“Dr Phelps addressed the crowd and asked if there were any members of parliament in the room who would take up the fight,” Ms Lovell said.
“I was the only MP in the room, but I was proud to be able to stand up and reassure Dr Phelps that I had already been advocating for radiotherapy services, and that I would continue to do so until GV Health has these services.”