Nuclear medicine bookings only weeks away for Albany

Michael TraillAlbany Advertiser
TeleMed director Peter Tually.
Camera IconTeleMed director Peter Tually. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser, Laurie Benson

The Great Southern’s first nuclear medicine service is expected to start taking bookings in Albany this month.

TeleMed founder and director Peter Tually has been in Albany fitting out TeleMed’s new Lower Stirling Terrace site.

He said the service would help bridge the gap between healthcare options available to patients in the Great Southern compared with their metropolitan counterparts.

TeleMed director Peter Tually.
Camera IconTeleMed director Peter Tually. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

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Using low-grade radioactive isotopes, TeleMed’s nuclear medicine imaging helps doctors identify the early stages of Australia’s two biggest killers: heart disease and cancer.

“At the moment people in Albany have to travel to Perth to get that done,” Mr Tually said.

“What I like is the fact that instead of patients having to go to Perth, stay the night, do the transport while they’re feeling really ill ... they can come down here, we’ll get it done in less than an hour, and they go straight back home to their families.

“That has a huge impact, because it’s a pain trying to find accommodation, it’s a different environment, and they want to be around their family.”

Mr Tually said nuclear medicine imaging worked in “harmony” with CT scans, but offered a more sensitive insight into the patient’s body. He said most of the services would be bulk billed.

“The aim is to find changes in the body at an earlier stage than they would appear on a CT,” he said. “We’re reducing the time from symptom presentation to diagnosis, because that is too long in the bush — we know that from a lot of research compared to the metropolitan area.

“It’s about getting access to the medical care earlier and reducing the time patients have to spend away from their family.”

The low-grade radioactive isotopes, with a half-life of six hours, are flown into WA from Australia’s only nuclear reactor at Lucas Heights in NSW. After arriving on Sundays, they are prepared in Perth and transported by road to Albany on Monday mornings for mid-week services.

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