Cancer patients in the South Island now have access to “world class” testing and care thanks to a community effort to improve services.
The Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) pledged $400,000 towards a new Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS) machine earlier this year and community organisations, including the Bowel and Liver Trust, the Rotary Club of Hornby, the Community Trust, the Eureka Trust and the Mauger Charitable Foundation, raised additional money for training and extra equipment to enhance its effectiveness.
The EUS was unveiled at a special launch in the Gastroenterology Investigation Unit at Christchurch Hospital last week. It combines a standard endoscope, which passes through the mouth and into the stomach, with an ultrasound probe, giving gastroenterologists the very best diagnostic information.
Dr Richard Gearry, Christchurch Hospital Gastroenterologist and Bowel and Liver Trust trustee, says the EUS will greatly improve the care of patients with some cancers as well as some others with digestive and respiratory diseases.
“Until now, South Islanders diagnosed with tumours of the oesophagus, stomach, pancreas and lung have had to go to Auckland for this type of test. The last thing they want to do is travel away from home,” Dr Gearry says.
“The new machine can provide the same information, which previously required invasive and painful surgery. EUS allows doctors to determine how far a cancer has spread to ensure the patient gets the right treatment.”
Also adding to the improved access for South Island patients is the arrival at Christchurch Hospital of top gastroenterologist Dr Gary Lim. Dr Lim has returned to Canterbury after several years’ working in Australia and is highly skilled in the use of Endoscopic Ultrasound equipment.
Dr Lim says it is great to come home and join the team at Christchurch Hospital.
“It’s fantastic to see the CDHB and the community take the lead in ensuring South Island patients have access to the best care possible – which is greatly enhanced through having the best equipment and people to look after them,” Dr Lim says.
“Having a EUS and the additional equipment to support it means we can run a full theatre list, meaning more people can be treated. Overall we can be more effective and provide a world class service like any other modern tertiary hospital.”
David Meates, CDHB chief executive says the board is very thankful to the community organisations involved in raising the additional money to support the service.
“This is a wonderful milestone and example of how community organisations can work with the District Health Board to improve the care of our patients,” Mr Meates says.
The EUS in Christchurch will ensure the timely investigation of patients close to home where they can be supported by family and friends, he says.
As part of the community efforts, the Hornby Rotary Club’s contribution has involved building a house that will be auctioned later this month at the Christchurch Star Home Show.
Bob Paton, Hornby Rotary Club project director, says the club hopes to pledge $50,000 from the sale to go towards ongoing support of the EUS machine.
Trust chairman Derrick Abbott says helping fund the EUS machine is one of a number of initiatives by the Bowel and Liver Trust to improve the digestive health of Cantabrians through the best equipment and research.
“Everybody in the trust is passionate about what we are trying to achieve and we look forward to having more causes that we can contribute to and for that partnership between the trusts, community and hospital to continue.”
To support the Bowel and Liver Trust go to www.bowelandliver.org.nz
CDHB would like to say a big thank you to the following companies who have supported the house build project:
Today Homes, Ilam-Nationwide Real Estate, Canbrick, Canterbury Aluminium, Canterbury Clay Brick, Domestic Bliss, Dyers Road ITM, Edward Gibbon, Ezi Breeze, HRV, Mico Plumbing Supplies, Sockburn Joinery, Bob Shearing Contractors, Evolving Landscapes
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