Does the Availability of a Local Service Change the Types of Patients Who Accesses Radiotherapy? An Investigation in the Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD). (#242)
Background: WNSWLHD is the second most sparsely populated LHD in NSW. About one third of the population are resident in the Orange Health Service area where a new radiotherapy service was established in 2011.
Aim: To investigate if the establishment of a local service at Orange has impacted on the “type” of patients from WNSWLHD accessing radiotherapy. In particular to investigate if patients’ demographics, cancer and treatment intent changes significantly with the introduction of the new service.
Method: To collect data on WNSWLHD patients over 17 years of age, who attended radiotherapy centres in NSW and ACT in 2010 and 2012 and compare the numbers of patients, their age, gender, treatment intent, cancer type and geographical location before (2010) and after the new service (2012)
Results: Data were collected on 1068 WNSWLHD patient attendances from 18 different radiotherapy services in NSW. The number of patients who accessed services increased from 456 to 611 (15%) between 2010 and 2012. The greatest change occurred closest to the new service, with patients from the Orange Health Service region increasing from 156 in 2010 to 272 in 2012, accounting for 74% of the total increase in WNSWLHD patients accessing services. There was also a significant increase in the number of palliative treatments, male attendances, and prostate treatments.
Conclusions: A new radiotherapy service in a sparsely populated health district significantly changed the pattern of radiotherapy use by those who lived in the local area. There were increases particularly in palliative, male and prostate treatments.