Fundraisers organised to help buy a CT scanner for the Milton-Uladulla Hospital, including a music festival at Willinga Park, have been cancelled because of the lack of support from the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Heath District and the NSW Government.
President of the Cancer Outpatients Appeal Peter Still got involved with the project for a CT scanner after conversations with medical practitioners and paramedics who said it was needed at the hospital.
Despite the support of South Coast MP Shelley Hancock and the NSW Premier during her visit to the area last year, Mr Still said the project was now dead.
"With the intervention of the Minister for Health and also Illawarra Health the project seems to be, at this stage, dead in the water, even though I'm still being contacted by paramedical people and medical people asking, 'Where is it up to with this project?'" he said.
Shortly after the March election Shelley Hancock said she wanted to move quickly on a number of projects including a CT scanner at Milton-Uladulla hospital.
"They need to be reminded of what they said... I suppose they're very busy people and I know the local member has a very soft sport for this area," Mr Still said.
He said he'd heard multiple, shocking stories from residents who were transported as far as Wollongong for a CT scan.
"I've had one lady say to me, 'I wish that we had a CT scanner when my husband was in hospital with cancer'," he said.
"There was one incident where she revealed to me he'd been transported to Nowra for a CT scan and when he got back he just said to her, 'Please don't ever let them do that to me again. That was the worst trip of my life'."
Mr Still urged people to consider the human impact of the issue, not finances.
"These are people in a vulnerable state, suffering pain. They need the humanity and the dignity to be able to be treated in the hospital, where they are not transported 60 to 70 km away up a road you can't even guarantee access to sometimes with accidents," he said.
"The humanity side of this really has to come to the top - are we talking about money and the cost of it or are we talking about human health? There's no price on that."
Despite all of the obstacles facing the project, Mr Still remained hopeful.
"I'm not too sure, we've been here before," he said.
"Getting support from the community and also the local paramedics and medial people, if we can get them behind us then we can move forward.
"And hoping the politicians will revisit their promises and continue on with those promises."
The ISLHD said in July it considered the proposal for a CT scanner but the number of patients presenting at the hospital requiring a scan was not high enough.
"On average, only about five patients a week require CT scans, well below the minimum 25 CT scans per week required to cover basic running costs of this service for taxpayers," executive director of clinical operations Margaret Martin said.
South Coast MP Shelley Hancock has been contacted for comment.