News in brief: Regional cancer centres yet to be built; MOGA 2022 invites abstract submissions; Record number of doctors elected to parliament


Regional cancer centres yet to be built

A string of regional cancer radiotherapy centres promised ahead of the last federal election are yet to be built, with the Federal Government failing to sign contracts in nearly half of all planned locations.

The Coalition promised $63.4 million during the 2019 election campaign on radiation therapy services in 13 regional locations, pledging to “provide greater access, help and support for people fighting cancer”.

But three years on, the vast majority of centres are yet to materialise, according to a report in the [Sydney Morning Herald](https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/cancer-patients-still-waiting-on-treatment-centres-promised-at-last-election-20220520-p5an1d.html).

Sites where promised centres never appeared included
Gladstone in Queensland, Armidale, Grafton and Bega in NSW, and East Gippsland in Victoria.

Plans for a centre in Geraldton, Western Australia had also stalled amid a funding dispute.

The government stressed last week contracts were in place to build services in towns including Griffith, Taree, Kempsey and Tweed Valley Hospital in NSW

However, former Cancer Council Australia CEO Professor Sancia Aranda said it was not good enough.

“There is a disconnect between state and federal planning on these issues and the cost for radiotherapy in the country is going up exponentially,” she told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“These are extremely expensive facilities to put in place. And it’s not as simple as just providing the machine. It’s all about the broader infrastructure that sits around that.”


MOGA 2022 invites abstract submissions

Abstract submissions are now being invited for the Medical Oncology Group of Australia (MOGA) 2022 annual meeting that will be held in Cairns on 18-19 August.

The MOGA 2022 conveners say abstracts offer an opportunity for medical oncology trainees and young oncologists to showcase their research work to national and international medical oncology professionals and to meet training requirements and undertake ongoing professional development.

All abstracts will undergo a blind peer-review process by the ASM Planning Committee, and selected abstracts will be published in an online supplement to the Asia-Pacific Journal of Clinical Oncology. 

“Sharing your research will help your colleagues and industry to offer better care to patients, said Dr Peter Manders and Dr Natalie Rainey, the 2022 ASM Co-Convenors

“We encourage you to submit an abstract and become part of this important national educational initiative. “


Record number of doctors elected to parliament

The number of doctors in Federal Parliament has risen to four, with specialists, GPs and emergency doctors all gaining seats for the first time.

As well as paediatric neurologist Professor Monique Ryan defeating sitting Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg in the Melbourne division of Kooyong, fellow Teal Independent Dr Sophie Scamps also enters parliament for the first time in the Sydney seat of Mackellar, where she lives and works as a GP.

And infectious diseases physician Dr Michelle Ananda-Rajah has won the blue ribbon Melbourne seat of Higgins for Labor, unseating Liberal MP and fellow medical specialist, Dr Katie Allen, a paediatrician.

The other doctor elected for the first time was Dr Gordon Reid, who became the Labor MP for Robertson, on the NSW Central Coast.

A Wiradjuri man, he said he had been inspired to run while working in the emergency department at the local Wyong Hospital by the bungled vaccine rollout and quarantine program.

Dr Reid said he planned to dedicate his parliamentary work to improving healthcare as well as protecting the Central Coast economy and addressing housing affordability.

Paediatrician Dr Mike Freelander retained the Sydney seat of Macarthur for Labor.

However, cardiologist Dr Michael Feneley, who ran as the Liberal candidate for the NSW electorate of Dobell, was unsuccessful in unseating Labor’s Emma McBride.

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