Armidale’s McGrath Breast Care Nurse Rachael Stevens will receive a slice of the coalition’s new $20.5 million funding for breast cancer care.
The funding is designed to support the nurses who provide care for the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the most common cancer for Australian women.
Breast cancer currently affects one in eight Australian women before the age of 85 and this year, it is estimated that more than 16,000 people will be diagnosed.
After working at the Armidale Rural Referral Hospital for five years, in February 2015 Ms Stevens was promoted to the McGrath Breast Care Nurse position and in the past 21 months has introduced a breast awareness program to Armidale schools and started a breast clinic in Glen Innes and Inverell.
Ms Stevens said the funding will help secure the next four years of work.
“It means that our jobs are more secure and that we’re still going to be able to support people in the area that need it,” she said.
Former McGrath Breast Care Nurse Helen Goodall said the funding was fantastic news for the whole region.
“Rachael will service from here to the QLD border so we pick up all the rural patients that typically don’t get seen because they’re so far out,” Ms Goodall said.
Member for New England Barnaby Joyce said that over the next four years, the government will fund up to 57 of the McGrath Foundation’s nurse positions in approximately 55 locations across the country, with most of these working in regional and rural communities.
“The support these nurses provide isn’t just to the patients, but also to their families and carers, starting from diagnosis and continuing throughout their treatment,” Mr Joyce said.
“The role these nurses play in a patient’s treatment journey involves them acting as the main liaison between the patients and the specialists who coordinate their treatment, a role that I can only imagine is invaluable during a very difficult time in a patient’s life.”
Since 2013, the McGrath Breast Care Nurses have supported around 15,000 Australians.
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