The health system in Western Australia operates in a hub and spoke model of care. This means that larger centres (hubs) are connected to and support smaller centres (spokes) to create a network system. In the South West region Bunbury is a spoke of Perth, but also a hub for the regional district hospitals.
Specialist services such as intensive care, coronary care, radiotherapy and comprehensive chemotherapy services require the regular presence of specialists. This generally means that their services will only be available at the metropolitan hospitals or the larger regional resource centres, such as Bunbury.
The commencement of radiotherapy in 2011 and the expansion of chemotherapy and cancer services in Bunbury in 2013 will mean that South West patients requiring certain specialist care will now be referred locally to the South West Health Campus rather than travelling to Perth. In general, Busselton and the other smaller hospitals will continue to offer GP led services with some visiting specialists and referrals to Bunbury for more complex and specialist care. This approach will help to ensure the sustainability and safety of specialist services as near as possible to local communities.
Some people will need to be referred to Perth based specialists in order to ensure appropriate levels of care.
In order to avoid unnecessary duplication of services and so that there is a large enough patient group to provide specialist services in regional WA, some services are provided to both public and private patients by a single provider. Often this provider is a non-government organisation.
A comprehensive range of cancer services are available in the South West including: