Public haematology patients support campaign for local treatment

John McDonald is in support of public patients receiving haematology treatment in the Southern Highlands. Photo: Lauren Strode

John McDonald is in support of public patients receiving haematology treatment in the Southern Highlands. Photo: Lauren Strode

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JOHN McDonald is just one of the many haematology patients who travel to Liverpool Hospital for treatment.

Like other public patients, John must travel out of the Highlands to be treated and have chemotherapy.

Last year he was diagnosed with Type B Lymphoma and before that he was being treated for chronic Leukaemia.

During his recent seven hour operation, doctors removed his right kidney and also removed the cancer from his bowel and liver.

“I’m a lucky boy,” he said.

John now travels to Liverpool Hospital every three weeks for chemotherapy.

His last chemo treatment will be on November 1.

“I don’t mind travelling to Liverpool because I can afford it and at the moment it’s not knocking me around too much,” he said.

“But a lot of people are older than me and having treatment knocks them around.

“Some of them can’t afford to travel and they’re crook but they’ve got to travel.”

One of the issues many patients face is the cost of travelling to Liverpool and parking.

“Parking can be expensive. You can be there from three to six hours. The first time I was there it was five hours,” John said.

But luckily John found out there was a place where patients could park for free for three hours.

“When you leave you show you’re seniors card or medicare card and it’s cheaper. If you don’t ask they don’t tell you. Now that we know about that, it’s good.”

A lot of people are older than me and having treatment knocks them around. Some of them can’t afford to travel and they’re crook but they’ve got to travel. - John McDonald

The Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee has been campaigning to have public patients treated for haematology issues in the Southern Highlands.

Currently, only patients with private health insurance can be treated at the cancer centre located in the private hospital.

“I’d like to see it [treatment for public patients] here [in the Highlands],” John said.

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