Doc­tor shares ex­cit­ing fu­ture for city’s med­i­cal ser­vices

Dubbo Photo News - - News - By NATALIE HOLMES

AS a med­i­cal on­col­o­gist, or cancer care spe­cial­ist, Dr Flo­rian Honey­ball says the re­sponse he re­ceives to his cho­sen oc­cu­pa­tion is al­most uni­ver­sally pos­i­tive.

The Dubbo com­mu­nity is par­tic­u­larly ap­pre­cia­tive of his ser­vices.

“Ev­ery­one is very ap­pre­cia­tive and al­most sur­prised that I chose to come here as a spe­cial­ist and live here,” he said af­ter mov­ing to the western plains from Syd­ney.

As well as his on­col­ogy work, Dr Honey­ball as­sists with gen­eral medicine work in the wards at Dubbo Health Ser­vice.

“I also have a clin­i­cal lec­turer po­si­tion at the Univer­sity of Syd­ney School of Ru­ral Health and go on out­reach to Mudgee, Coon­abarabran, Wal­gett and Co­bar.

“Some­thing I did not feel work­ing in the city was the sense of com­mu­nity that a town like Dubbo gives to you when you live here.”

Most of Dr Honey­ball’s daily work life in­volves dis­cus­sions with peo­ple liv­ing with cancer and their fam­i­lies about treat­ments, prog­no­sis, symp­toms and pre­ven­tion. Some­thing most peo­ple don’t re­alise is that he doesn’t per­form surgery and that there are al­most 500 types of chemo­ther­apy used.

“There is a fair amount of pa­per­work,” he admits of his role, “but also lots of op­por­tu­nity to ad­vo­cate for bet­ter health, in­form gov­ern­ment and cre­ate pol­icy – like our re­mote video as­sisted chemo­ther­apy model – to help smaller re­mote com­mu­ni­ties get ac­cess to cancer treat­ments.”

With the cancer unit serv­ing an area the size of Great Britain, Dr Honey­ball said it’s a mas­sive un­der­tak­ing un­der­pinned by mor­tal­ity.

“Talk­ing about death and dy­ing with peo­ple liv­ing with cancer is al­ways tough, and it doesn’t get any eas­ier with ex­pe­ri­ence.

“The tyranny of dis­tance is also dif­fi­cult but not im­pos­si­ble to over­come – I hate it when I get told that treat­ment is too far away, that is some­thing that drives me to in­no­vate for the re­gion.”

With the $35m Western Cancer Cen­tre set to add to the re­gion’s med­i­cal ser­vices, Dr Honey­ball said the de­vel­op­ment will be the Cen­tral West’s most com­pre­hen­sive cancer care fa­cil­ity, in­clud­ing a new 16 chair chemo­ther­apy fa­cil­ity, ra­dio­ther­apy ma­chines, PET scanner, well­ness cen­tre, clin­i­cal tri­als unit, and the hub for Western NSW’S re­mote video-as­sisted chemo­ther­apy unit.

It’s a great leap for­ward for this caring pro­fes­sional who fell into on­col­ogy al­most ac­ci­den­tally.

“I was placed in an on­col­ogy term dur­ing in­tern­ship the first year af­ter med­i­cal school, and I loved the com­mu­ni­ca­tion and sci­ence be­hind cancer medicine,” he said.

He spent 14 years train­ing which in­cluded a med­i­cal de­gree then ba­sic spe­cialty train­ing in adult medicine, then sub-spe­cialty train­ing in Med­i­cal On­col­ogy.

“It’s a hard slog, but worth it!” he said.

Dr Honey­ball has now been a fully qual­i­fied spe­cial­ist for five years and counts Pro­fes­sor Peter Grim­i­son from Royal Prince Al­fred Hos­pi­tal and Doc­tors Colin Mcclin­tock and Jenif­fer Fiore-chap­man as his men­tors.

“Pro­fes­sor Peter Grim­i­son looked af­ter Dubbo’s cancer cen­tre for al­most a decade be­fore me and helped me im­mensely through my train­ing and when I was start­ing up out here as Dubbo’s first res­i­dent on­col­o­gist. Drs Mcclin­tock and Fiore-chap­man are also amaz­ing guides and lead­ers as fel­low ru­ral spe­cial­ists in Dubbo.”

Af­ter mov­ing to Dubbo with his wife Kate, who is also a doc­tor, the cou­ple hasn’t looked back.

“We wanted a bet­ter life­style for our­selves and the move to Dubbo has been re­ally good for our qual­ity of life!”

Dr Honey­ball said there are op­por­tu­ni­ties in the district for other med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als who would like a change of scenery.

“We would be keen to take on any­body from just about ev­ery spe­cialty in Dubbo,” he said.

“The town and district are very well served by a ded­i­cated and co­he­sive group of GPS and spe­cial­ists but there is room for growth across the board, not just in medicine but in fields like nurs­ing, so­cial work, psy­chol­ogy and ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“There will be em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties for doc­tors, nurses, al­lied health and ad­min­is­tra­tive staff as the Western Cancer Cen­tre and other hos­pi­tal de­vel­op­ments are com­mis­sioned and opened over the next 18-24 months.”

Dr Flo­rian Honey­ball’s role as a Dubbo-based cancer care spe­cial­ist gives him “lots of op­por­tu­nity” to ad­vo­cate for bet­ter health, in­form gov­ern­ment and cre­ate pol­icy. PHOTO: DUBBO PHOTO NEWS/EMY LOU

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.