On Monday 20th February 2017, TASCS Australia made the first of many forthcoming visits to the Haematology Unit of Royal Melbourne Hospital. The Society met with Rebecca Dring who is the head nurse of the Haematology unit, to discuss about the numbers of patients being treated, the conditions of the treatment they receive, as well as cooperation between the Society and Royal Melbourne.
The Society was informed about who were the haematologists responsible for treating patients, the ever increasing number of cases, and the unit’s efforts to ensure coordinated care, for all thalassaemia and sickle cell patients. The ethos of “coordinated care” being that the treating haematologists oversees all prescriptions, referrals and medical reports from other specialists and doctors, so as to ensure the well-being of patients. This is due to the specialist and complex nature of haemoglobin conditions, as there is a propensity for haemoglobinopathies to react negatively to other illnesses and forms of treatment and medications.
We were informed that due to the growing number of haemoglobinopathies from within the local population, interstate and overseas settlement, there will be a need for the haematology unit to expand and be provided with additional staff and resources. At present there is both permanent and rotated staff attending to the needs of patients.
During these discussions, it was expressed that the treating haematologists would like to touch base and establish close links with the Society, and requested that TASCS Australia should make regular visits to the unit to touch base with haematologists and nursing staff, and if permitted, patients as well. The Society was also requested to offer a series of presentations for nursing and other medical staff to help encourage better knowledge and awareness of haemoglobinopathies, and the concerns that patients are confronted with, and things that medical staff should be mindful of.
The Society’s representatives expressed their desire to collaborate with Royal Melbourne’s Haematology Unit, and to seek permission to convene some small scale events around International Thalassaemia Day and World Sickle Cell Day, for the benefit of patients and to build upon the need for raising awareness.
Many more things were discussed regarding the nature of haemoglobinopasthies, the lack of current and reliable statistical data, the growing needs and cases of haemoglobin conditions, and possible ways of establishing closer ties and cooperation between the Society and Royal Melbourne Hospital. We thanked Rebecca Dring for her help, and planned to arrange a meeting with Dr Kylie Mason and fellow haematologists at our next visit to the hospital.