A little bit of help can go a long way

  • Remote grass land
    Photo Stewart Roper.

A man with metastatic cancer from South Australia’s far north has not only been re-located from a town faced with its lease ending, but he has also had his ongoing medical needs coordinated to ensure he receives the treatment he needs.

Thanks to Country SA Primary Health Network (PHN) and the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) coming together, the man from the opal mining town of Mintabie in South Australia’s Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands is now living in Whyalla where he has been housed and provided with much better access to medical services.

It has been made possible through Country SA PHN’s Integrating Primary Health Care Services (IPHCS) program – an initiative designed to address chronic disease in communities with populations of 5,000 people or less across regional South Australia.

“The aim of the IPHCS program is to improve patient health outcomes earlier and reduce hospital admissions through better access to allied health and specialist nursing services,” said Country SA PHN CEO Kim Hosking.

“One of the things the IPHCS program enabled was the funding of the equivalent of 1.2 full-time Primary Care RFDS nurses based out of Port Augusta and it was through this service that the need to help this man became apparent.

“His case is just one example of how a little bit of help can go a long way. Our service providers have many similar stories about people from across regional and rural South Australia who have welcomed assistance through programs such as IPHCS.”

Mandy Smallacombe, Manager Primary Health Care RFDS Central Operations, said the changes the client has experienced since his re-location have been enormous.

“Prior to moving to Whyalla, he hadn’t lived in conventional housing for 25 years, so this has certainly been a big change for him,” she said.

“But, more importantly, when he was in Mintabie he wasn’t able to attend regular treatment because the only way to access the Patient Assistance Travel Scheme was to take a 14-hour bus trip to Adelaide.

“Now he is just a short drive from the services he needs and has a designated GP who is helping to ensure that he receives regular treatment.

“The RFDS is proud to be able to help people just like him, in this case thanks to funding support from Country SA PHN.”


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