New testing and speech services closer to home for Gympie patients

Read time

Image for New testing and speech services closer to home for Gympie patients

Urology Nurse Practitioner Erin McIntosh

Two new services have been launched at Gympie Hospital, making it easier and quicker for patients to access the care they need.

A procedure to test for bladder cancer recurrences, and speech therapy for outpatients with voice conditions are two of the newest services being offered locally.

These services are primarily based at Sunshine Coast University Hospital, but staff are now taking their skills on the road and offering the care to the Gympie community on set days.

Urology Nurse Practitioner Erin McIntosh said bladder cancer patients receive cystoscopies every three months for the first year post surgery and sometimes for several years after that.

Until now, patients had to drive to Sunshine Coast University Hospital for the scope.

“Bladder cancer is a very common condition that we treat, and part of the ongoing management is regular cystoscopies, which are looks inside the bladder to make sure there are no recurrences of that cancer,” Erin said.

“Bladder cancer is a bit sneaky and can often come back, so we keep an eye on it so we can treat it quickly if it comes back,” she said.

Cystoscopies will now be offered one day a week at Gympie Hospital, making it safer and easier for patients to access.

“Cancer patients often have issues with fatigue and are quite often in the older population of our generation,” Erin said.

“So to offer a service at Gympie where we travel, instead of the patient, is something new for urology and hopefully will make it easier for the patients with this condition.”

The outreach program will be led by Nurse Practitioner Erin, as well as a local General Practitioner with Special Interest, Dr Mat Ranaweera.

“Urology is a service that is always in demand, and to date, all urology services have been located at SCUH or Nambour, so this is the first time it has branched out to Gympie, and it’s great to be able to offer it to locals,” Dr Ranaweera said.

“For Gympie locals, driving an hour or so each way to SCUH for a simple test that takes as little as 15 minutes has a big impact on people’s lives,” he said.

Sunshine Coast Health has also launched a voice therapy clinic in Gympie for outpatients with voice conditions.

“We’re treating patients with voice disorders, which can be caused by a range of issues such as general tension, a respiratory illness, or something more anatomical like vocal cord nodules,” Speech Pathologist Sofia Back said.

The expanded service is making it significantly easier for outpatients to access appointments and improve their outcomes.

“We help them to get their voice function back and achieve their goals, whether that be to increase their volume, chat in a social setting, or make their voice clearer.”

Stroke survivor Allan Trotter is one Gympie Hospital patient who has recently seen firsthand the incredible impact of speech therapy in his recovery.

“I don’t know whether I will be back to normal, but I think I will hold a conversation,” he said.