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March 2019

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Northern Health patient Dominic Garraffo (centre) with SURC Project Officer Gen Johnston, medical oncology head of unit Dr Frances Barnett, North Eastern Melbourne Integrated Cancer Service facility improvement officer Hugh Burch, chief operating officer Jane Poxon, specialist oncology/haematology nurse practitioner Michael Cooney and day oncology unit nurse unit manager Melissa Gwynne.

Northern Hospital launches new oncology clinic

Northern Health has opened its new oncology and haematology symptom and urgent review clinic (SURC).

SURC is a free service for any patient with cancer who is experiencing distressing side effects from undergoing systemic – chemotherapy or immunotherapy – treatment at Northern Health.

SURCs provide an alternative to patients with non-critical issues attending the emergency department.

These clinics have been established at major cancer units across Victoria and have proven to be a very useful service for patients undergoing cancer treatments.

The Northern clinic is staffed by an experienced cancer nurse, who may provide advice over the phone or request that a patient comes into the clinic.

It will be located within the day oncology unit at the Northern Hospital and will give patients direct access to specialist oncology/haematology nurse practitioner Michael Cooney.

‘SURC will benefit the Northern community, as it provides a context-specific place for patients to manage treatment or cancer-related side effects.

‘It adds to continuity of care, in that they can get in touch with someone who knows their story and who understands what’s happening to them.

‘It’s great that Northern Health has supported the idea of establishing one of these clinics,’ Mr Cooney said.