FEARS that services at Daffodil Cottage may be downgraded are unfounded, according to councillor Warren Aubin, who says he and the city's health watchdog, the Health Action Group, have been keeping a close eye on developments.
News broke on Monday that Daffodil Cottage had lost its permanent senior oncology pharmacist, prompting fears some of its services could be permanently relocated to Orange.
Bathurst Health Service's general manager Cathy Marshall confirmed that patients receiving chemotherapy for the first time are being treated in Orange.
In a statement, Ms Marshall said Bathurst Health Service was actively recruiting for a permanent senior oncology pharmacist for Daffodil Cottage and, in the interim, to ensure patient safety, anyone receiving a new therapy for the first time will be treated at Orange where there is a specialist available to manage any adverse reactions.
Cr Aubin, who is a spokesman for the Health Action Group, said he was first made aware of the situation mid-last week after being contacted by former Bathurst mayor Peta Gurdon-O'Meara.
He said he immediately made contact with the Health District, meeting with Scott McLachlan, CEO of the Western NSW Local Health District, and Scott Griffiths, chair of the Western NSW Local Health District Board.
Having spoken with Mr Griffiths directly over the past six days, Cr Aubin said he had been assured that there were no plans to downgrade the services available in Bathurst.
Cr Aubin said he remains in regular contact with the board and said he is happy with what's going on behind the scenes.
"There is a pharmacist working at the hospital training on the job to fill the void, and they have advertised for the job to be filled," he said.
He said Member for Bathurst Paul Toole has also written a letter to the minister for the position to be full-time and fully funded.
"The Health District has stood up and said we will do something about the situation and they have followed through," Cr Aubin said.
He said the only concern was the void that had been left while the hospital works to fill the position.
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"There's no-one there to do the job; that's poor forward planning, and not in the interests of patients," he said.
Cr Aubin said he will continue to communicate with the Health District on the situation and hopes that by next week, the patient transfers to Orange will cease.
"The last thing we want, especially in this climate [of COVID-19], is vulnerable cancer patients being transferred to another city for treatment," he said.
"I'll be watching this and if they don't follow through, all hell will break loose."
Fellow Councillor Alex Christian agreed saying it was not good enough the health service failed to have a contingency plan.
He said he had been working closely with Cr Aubin and said if the situation is not addressed by next week, he would be calling on everyone in the community to rally and show their support.
"If they don't fix it, things are going to get really uncomfortable," he said.
"There should have been a contingency plan, you just can't leave cancer patients high and dry," he said.