The Loddon Mallee region (LMR) is the region in Victoria covered by 10 Local Government Areas (LGAs). These LGAs are Buloke Shire, Campaspe Shire, Central Goldfields Shire, Gannawarra Shire, City of Greater Bendigo, Loddon Shire, Macedon Ranges Shire, Rural City of Mildura, Mount Alexander Shire, and Rural City of Swan Hill.
Approximately 328,000 people live in the LMR. This means that approximately 5% of Victoria’s population resides in over a quarter of the state’s area. The LMR population is concentrated around the south of the region in Bendigo and the Macedon Ranges. Mildura is also a significant population centre and is the regional hub for several remote locations. People with cancer and their carers may utilise urgent care, acute beds, and community-based programs in the smaller services and specialist cancer services in the larger services.
As of 2015:
There are six full-time Medical Oncologists permanently based in the LMR. Five of the six are primarily based at Bendigo Health, with clinics provided in Echuca Regional Health, St John of God Bendigo Hospital, and Kerang District Health. A joint Medical and Radiation Oncology clinic has just commenced in Kyneton. One Medical Oncologist is based in Mildura, with services provided to Mildura Base Hospital and Mildura Private Hospital.
There are six public and two private hospitals in the LMR which provide chemotherapy services. These are described in the below table.
|HEALTH SERVICES||CHEMOTHERAPY CHAIRS||CHEMOTHERAPY BEDS|
|Echuca Regional Health||4||0|
|Kerang District Health – Bendigo Health outreach service||6||0|
|Kyabram District Health Service – Goulburn Valley Health outreach service||4||0|
|Maryborough District Health Service||2||0|
|Mildura Base Hospital||8||0|
|Mildura Private Hospital||6||1|
|St John of God Hospital, Bendigo||4||1|
|Swan Hill District Health - Bendigo Health outreach service||4||0|
The Bendigo Cancer Centre’s radiotherapy (RT) service are provided by the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. The Centre has two megavoltage linear accelerators, a superficial x-ray treatment machine and a dedicated CT scanner for treatment planning. Nursing and allied health staff are provided through Bendigo Health.
A private Radiation Oncologist receives commonwealth funding to support monthly visits to Mildura. The service incorporates Telehealth consultations and participation in Mildura multidisciplinary meetings (MDMs). Many of these patients then fly to the Epworth Radiation Oncology Service in Melbourne to receive treatment. In some specific cases, their treatments may be arranged at other centres.
In 2014/15, 1,022 courses of radiotherapy treatments were provided to residents of the LMR in Victoria. The below table shows a breakdown of the number of courses delivered, and the location in which the treatment occurred for the 2014/15 financial year.
|LOCATION OF RADIOTHERAPY DELIVERY TO RESIDENTS OF LMR||RT TREATMENTS||% OF TOTAL|
|Barwon South Western Regional Integrated Cancer Service||6||0.6%|
|Grampians Integrated Cancer Service||44||4.3%|
|Hume Regional Integrated Cancer Service||1||0.1%|
|Loddon-Mallee Integrated Cancer Service||664||65.0%|
|North East Melbourne Integrated Cancer Service||27||2.6%|
|Southern Melbourne Integrated Cancer Service||23||2.3%|
|Western and Central Melbourne Integrated Cancer Service||204||20.0%|
There is some fluctuation in the numbers of GPs in the LMR. The Murray Primary Health Network (PHN) maintains a list. As at November 2016, there were 439 GPs in the LMR on this list. Approximately half of these are concentrated in the Greater Bendigo and Greater Mildura Regions.
The McGrath Foundation, Leukaemia Foundation, and Prostrate Cancer Foundation of Australia all fund nurses in the region to support specific client groups.
Bendigo Health funds specialist prostate and breast care nurses through their surgical streams. Echuca Regional Health, Maryborough District Health and Mildura Base Hospital fund nurse coordinators as part of their cancer services.
Please visit the Loddon Mallee Regional Palliative Care Consortium for details of the palliative care services in the region: www.lmrpcc.org.au
Familial cancer services are provided by the Parkville Integrated Familial Cancer Centre in Mildura and Bendigo.