NSW Labor is demanding the Berejiklian Government provide a mammogram machine for the Royal Hospital for Women at Randwick after today’s appalling revelations that the State’s biggest women’s hospital doesn’t have one.
The Breast Centre at the Royal Hospital for Women (RHW) has to borrow a mammogram machine from BreastScreen NSW but can only use it three days a week, resulting in delays in diagnosis.
Campbelltown and Liverpool Hospitals are other major hospitals that lack this equipment.
NSW Shadow Minister for Health Ryan Park said hospital staff should not have to fund-raise for essential life-saving equipment, which is what staff at RHW are currently doing.
“Billions have been wasted on budget blowouts on projects like the disastrous light rail and the knock down of Allianz Stadium, yet the community is expected to fundraise for equipment that should be provided for by the Government,” he said.
“It is absolutely unacceptable.”
Labor Member for Coogee, where RHW is located, Dr Marjorie O’Neill, said it was appalling that the only female-specific hospital in NSW didn’t have the necessary equipment to ensure early detection and effective treatment of breast cancer.
“Rather than wasting money on stadiums, the Government should focus on ensuring NSW has world class health care,” she said.
Shadow Minister for Better Public Services Sophie Cotsis said early diagnosis was imperative when it came to breast cancer and women shouldn’t have to wait.
“As someone who has gone through the breast cancer battle, I can tell you that no expense should be spared, because it can mean the difference between life and death,” she said.
“Screening should be done every day at the Royal Hospital for Women. The Berejiklian Government should also be ensuring a mammogram machine is provided at other large hospitals like Campbelltown and Liverpool Hospitals.”
Labor Member for Maitland, Jenny Aitchison, also a breast cancer survivor, said that when one suspects or has been diagnosed with breast cancer, every moment counts.
“Many people just cannot afford screening from a private clinic,” she said.
“I’ve had younger women from regional areas tell me they and their families have had to go without food to pay for their pre-surgery screening for breast cancer after a diagnosis.
“Cost is a significant barrier to early detection and early treatment.
“When the state’s primary women’s health facility can’t get funding to get its own screening equipment, it’s indicative of the struggle women are facing all over this state in getting adequate health care.
“We know early detection saves lives, but it also gives women more options to manage their cancer, meaning they might be able to avoid chemotherapy or radiation, which can also limit their choices later on.”