Letters

Pork barrelling without the pork?

Ed,

It was fantastic to read the article published in the Independent on the February 17.

Minister Greg Hunt announced investment of up to $5 million for radiation therapy services for patients living in the Clarence Valley and Tweed areas – meaning cancer patients can access treatment close to home. Our federal minister Kevin Hogan welcomed the announcement and said this means ‘we won’t have to travel to Coffs or Lismore for this service anymore’.

I contacted Mr Hogan asking if he knew of a timeline for the new radiation unit and where it would be built. He replied, ‘Northern NSW Local Health District received funding for radiation therapy services at Grafton Base Hospital’. He referred me to Northern NSW Local Health District for further information.

I contacted Northern NSW Local Health District and was advised that they will be receiving funding for a CT scanner at Grafton Base Hospital. This is not for administering radiation treatment but may be used for planning, which is not radiotherapy treatment. The treatment still needs to take place in Lismore or Coffs Harbour meaning patients will still have to travel outside the Clarence area.

The fact is this story is completely misleading and possibly gives cancer patients false hope. I feel Mr Hogan should clarify this story otherwise this is looking very much like pork barrelling without the pork!

Annie Dorrian, Iluka

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