A new clinic at The Northern Hospital is helping oncology patients check up on their condition without having to visit the emergency department.

The specialised clinic, run by nurse practitioner Michael Cooney, enables patients to call the hospital and chat about their situation.

Previously, concerned patients would need to travel to the emergency department.

Mr Cooney said the clinic would provide patients with peace of mind and allow them to talk with someone who knows their story and understands their treatment.

“The clinic was born out of oncology patients often experiencing side effects of both their cancer and their treatment and not knowing what to do,” he said.

“They often end up in the emergency department and often they don’t need to be there.

“A lot of the time patients need reassuring that what they are experiencing is normal.”


Northern Hospital’s Michael Cooney and Melissa Gwynne with patient Michael Sesto. (Luke Hemer).

The Symptom and Urgent Review Clinic was funded with the help of a grant from the North Eastern Melbourne Integrated Cancer Service.

Patients receiving oral chemotherapy, who often don’t see a nurse, will also be seen through the clinic.

Mr Cooney said initial feedback from patients was that they found the clinic reassuring and were grateful they didn’t need to attend the emergency department.

The clinic will run Monday to Friday, from 8am-4.30pm. Patients can call the clinic or attend in person.