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Hospital warns cancer patients of delays

Delays warning: The acute care wing of King Edward VII Memorial Hospital. The hospital has warned cancer patients of delays while it waits for two new oncologists. (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

The Bermuda Hospitals Board has warned of delays for new cancer patients as it works to replace two vacancies left by recently departed oncologists.

A BHB spokeswoman said both Sein Aung and Chris Fosker left the BHB in December, and two new appointments are “working through immigration requirements”.

Wesley Miller, BHB Chief of Staff, said that until the new specialists are ready and on-island, oncologist Michael Hawking will be supported by locum oncologists, including Christopher Price.

“During this time, our service will be under greater pressure, especially when either Dr Hawking or Dr Price are away,” he said. “We are doing our best to ensure there is locum coverage at all times during this period and we apologise to any individuals who may wait longer than usual for their first oncology appointment.

“We would normally expect a newly referred patient to see an oncologist within a week or two of an oncology referral, but recently this has been longer in some cases and it is possible by the end of February that this may extend more than two weeks and up to a month.

“However, all new referrals will continue to be triaged with urgency, and our oncologists will facilitate a faster response or an overseas referral should a diagnosis require it.”

Dr Miller said patients already receiving services from the oncology department will not have their planned treatments interrupted.

“We can also reassure the community that people who are referred first for diagnostic cancer tests, surgery, or other specialist consultations within BHB, such as prostate cancer referrals to the urologist, will be seen without delay,” he added.

“We certainly are looking forward to strengthening our oncology service with three full-time oncologists in the near future, and we remain committed to ensuring patients are seen within a time frame that provides them the best possible outcomes.

“A new cancer diagnosis is a very challenging and frightening experience and we will ensure care is available either here or overseas.

“Once the two new oncologists have completed their relocation requirements, we will share more about them and their arrival dates.”

Dr Miller thanked Dr Aung and Dr Fosker for their service over the past years, and said the BHB were looking forward to the arrival of two new full-time specialists.

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Published February 09, 2023 at 8:13 am (Updated February 09, 2023 at 8:13 am)

Hospital warns cancer patients of delays

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