Carol Smidt of South Grafton is having chemo treatment for breast cancer and was without a doctor after Jacaranda Health shut down.
Carol Smidt of South Grafton is having chemo treatment for breast cancer and was without a doctor after Jacaranda Health shut down. Adam Hourigan

Breast cancer patient turned away due to doctor shortage

CAROL Smidt's world came crashing down the day Jacaranda Health shut their doors.

After being diagnosed with breast cancer about a year ago, Mrs Smidt had registered with the doctor at Jacaranda Health where she wanted to stay for her treatment.

But when the medical centre closed at the beginning of the month, Mrs Smidt was left without a doctor, without answers, and without help.

"I'm halfway through my chemo. They must put you on the books because I'm a cancer patient," Mrs Smidt said about finding a new doctor.

But when she visited a new surgery looking to make an appointment, she was turned away.

"I said I've come from Jacaranda. The receptionist said no doctors are taking any new patients. I walked out crying," she said.

"I was so horrified that I walked out and went to the Grafton Super Clinic because I thought they'd have lots of doctors, and they said no there were no doctors in Grafton taking patients, even if you are a cancer patient.

"They said I'll put you down with a locum, hopefully it won't take too long till you can get on someone's books.

"I just can't believe that for anyone in my situation there are no doctors available. I have to have a doctor for referrals for oncology."

Mrs Smidt had never spent a lot of time looking after herself because she was invested in caring for her first husband who died from cancer and her second husband who is now in a nursing home.

"I don't have much time for doctors," she said.

But after she was diagnosed, she said, "I've got to start sorting my health out."

"It's been really, really traumatic."

She added that the instability had really affected her.

"I'm an old lady. I'm 73 and I really would like to discuss it with someone," she said about having a trusted source of information for help with decisions about her treatment.

"You really want someone to... ask am I doing the right thing?"

Mrs Smidt was so devastated that she turned to Facebook to share her plight with her friends.

"I never post anything, but then my grandson phoned me and said I found one for you," Mrs Smidt said.

Her grandson Jimmy recently called every doctors surgery in Grafton and found his grandmother a new doctor.



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