Respiratory specialist returns to Bundaberg

Dr Rebecca Byrnes has returned home to Bundaberg to work in respiratory medicine at Mater Private Hospital. Photo: Contributed

Dr Rebecca Byrnes is determined to make a difference in the lives of respiratory and lung patients across Wide Bay, after returning home to Bundaberg to work at Mater Private Hospital.

The respiratory and sleep physician has relocated from North Queensland with her young family to develop a new lung cancer service for the community.

“Bundaberg is where I want to work – it’s under-serviced and I want to make a difference here,” Dr Byrnes said.

“It’s important to me that people in regional centres have equitable access to healthcare.

“I love Bundaberg and fortunately my husband loves it too – we are here for the long haul!”

Dr Byrnes said lung cancer was very common.

“More people die of lung cancer than any other cancer,” she said.

“It’s the fifth most common cancer and biggest cancer killer in Australia.”

After completing her respiratory and physician training, Dr Byrnes worked in Townsville for five years at hospitals including Mater Private Hospital Townsville.

Describing respiratory medicine as a ‘procedural specialty', Dr Byrnes said there was only one other respiratory clinician in Bundaberg.

“I have been working closely with Mater Private Hospital Bundaberg to bring equipment and services to this community,” she said.

“When someone is sent to me with suspected lung cancer, I have been trained to do the procedures.

“I can diagnose the cancer and don’t have to send it to someone else to make a diagnosis.

“There is much less fragmentation of care and a smoother cancer journey for patients, and that’s the appeal of respiratory care to me.”

Mater Private Hospital Bundaberg General Manager Catherine Hackney said the hospital was proud to improve access to high-quality care for the Wide Bay community.

“Mater is proud to welcome Dr Rebecca Byrnes home after gaining extensive training in respiratory medicine, which she is now able to provide to the Bundaberg community,” Catherine said.

“This is a family affair for Dr Byrnes, whose parents both trained as GPs and who is now sharing a practice with her brother Dr Sean Byrnes across the road from Mater.

“We are very excited to welcome her home and for the Wide Bay community to be provided with a broader range of compassionate care close to home.”

Dr Byrnes urged people experiencing symptoms including a persistent cough, coughing up blood, or an unexplained shortness of breath, to see their GP who can assess whether a referral is required to see her.

Dr Byrnes’ practice is located at 310 Bourbong St, Bundaberg Central, opposite Mater Private Hospital Bundaberg.

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