Calls for increased government support

TOILING ON: Prostate cancer advocate Bob Bowcher and Cootamundra Prostate Cancer Support Group chairman Eddie Williams hope the appointment of Sussan Ley to health minister will deliver a specialist nurse to the region. Picture: Kieren L TillyA PROSTATE cancer advocate has called for increased state and federal support to ensure the appointment of a specialist nurse amid fears Sussan Ley’s appointment to federal health minister could favour an Albury position ahead of Wagga.

Wagga’s state and federal members have both clarified specialist prostate cancer nurse appointments made by the independent body, Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA), were at arm’s length of ministerial interference.

Bob Bowcher however believes the decision that saw Wagga denied a nurse for the second consecutive year, despite having a 28 per cent higher incidence rate than the state average, was political.

Mr Bowcher, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer 11 years ago, welcomed Ms Ley’s appointment given her rural background as member for Farrer, but feared Albury could become a priority to receive a nurse over the Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD), which spans 125,561 square kilometres across 29 local government areas, including Cootamundra Shire.

He called for state members of the MLHD to approach state health minister Jillian Skinner with suggestions money from the poles and wires sell-off could easily fund a nurse, while calling Riverina federal member Michael McCormack to contact Ms Ley to lobby the case.

“It needs to be a joint effort,” Mr Bowcher said.

“At the end of the day, if the federal government can’t come up with it, why can’t state?”

The specialist care nurse provides immediate support within 72 hours of diagnosis, as well as ongoing support throughout treatment.

“We’re just trying every avenue,” Mr Bowcher said.

“It will happen with her.”

Cootamundra Prostate Cancer Support Group chairman Eddie Williams echoed Mr Bowcher’s concerns, having lobbied the case with assistant health minister Fiona Nash, member for Hume Angus Taylor and member for Burrinjuck Katrina Hodgkinson.

“Let’s hope all our representations made to (former health minister Peter Dutton) don’t go away,” Mr Williams said.

“The response has been they’ve supported but only when there’s next round of funding and they can’t give us a time or a date.

“In light of the new appointment, we don’t want to lose sight of the work we’ve done.”

Mr Williams, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer two years ago and is currently undergoing treatment since the cancer returned eight weeks ago, said the fight would continue.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.