NSW latest cancer patients receive increased access to affordable care in Wagga Wagga

The NSW Government is increasing access to affordable cancer treatment for the Riverina community after signing a new Agreement with the private operator of the Riverina Cancer Care Centre.

As part of this new Agreement, from 1 July 2024, there will be no out-of-pocket costs for patients who may receive radiotherapy and medical oncology treatments in Wagga Wagga at the Riverina Cance Care Centre.

Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD) has selected a provider for cancer services in Wagga Wagga and has now reached an Agreement with the provider to remove all out-of-pocket costs for patients attending the Centre.

This follows a similar agreement the NSW Government reached with the Griffith Radiotherapy Centre.

Currently, patients who are admitted to MLHD hospitals and require cancer treatment at the Riverina Cancer Care Centre are fully covered, but outpatients referred to the Centre may incur out-of-pocket costs for their treatment.

This new arrangement means patients will no longer have to pay for lifesaving treatment, they can receive their care closer to home and some patients will no longer have to travel long distances to receive their care at bulk-billing facilities to avoid out of pocket costs.

MLHD provides a range of treatment and supportive care to patients with cancer, and partners with other services to ensure patients receive the appropriate care they require during their cancer journey.

Quotes from Minister for Regional Health Ryan Park:

“The Minns Government is fulfilling its commitment to provide equitable access to high-quality cancer treatment for all Riverina residents.

“Our healthcare system continues to face challenges, particularly in remote, rural and regional areas, this new Agreement will help to remedy the inequality that saw patients in Wagga Wagga left struggling to pay the out-of-pocket costs associated with their care.

“For patients who have already received the difficult news that they have cancer and will require ongoing treatment, there should not be the added burden of having to decide whether to travel for bulk-billed treatments to avoid costly care. Under this new Agreement cancer care will be available close to home at no cost to the individual.

“All cancer patients, no matter where they live in NSW, should have equitable access to the most timely and appropriate treatment they require. This new Agreement is a huge step towards ensuring the people of Wagga Wagga and the wider Murrumbidgee region have that care with no out of pocket expense.”

Quotes from Member for Wagga Wagga Dr Joe McGirr:

“This is fantastic news for Riverina people who have never given up hope of winning equity in cancer care and I’m proud to have worked with the community and the NSW Government to bring about this vital change.

“Last year, I presented Parliament with a petition of 12,000 signatures calling for radiotherapy services in Wagga to have no out-of-pocket costs. I’m delighted that local patients will now get the same support as those in other regional centres.

“Undergoing cancer treatment is of course a very traumatic time for patients and their families and until now, that trauma was often worsened by hefty out-of-pocket costs for life-changing care.

“Now, that financial burden has been lifted and I congratulate Minister Park for listening to our community’s very valid concerns and bringing equity to our community.”

/Public Release. View in full here.