AFTER 12 months of lobbying, Wagga remains no closer to securing a prostate care nurse than when the campaign first began.
And in a blow for advocates, who have been tirelessly campaigning for the city to secure one of the federally funded nurses, Wagga may never receive one with the prostate care nurse program's future up in the air.
In a meeting with Health Minister Peter Dutton on Tuesday, member for Riverina Michael McCormack was told the minister was "uncertain" if there would be another round of nurses deployed to hospitals following this year's allocations.
Wagga was unsuccessful in securing a nurse in the current round. While the list of hospitals granted nurses has yet to be publicly released, the Advertiser understands Orange and Geelong are two of the centres successful in their application.
"I've certainly put the case forward (for Wagga to receive a nurse) so it's there and we haven't decided as whether they may do another round of those nurses," Mr McCormack said.
"If they, do I know we'll be putting the case forward again."
Despite the setback, Mr McCormack said there was "no immediate end in sight for Wagga's bid to get a dedicated prostate care nurse".
But the decision has come as a blow to the man who has worked vigorously behind the scenes trying to make the bid a reality.
Bob Bowcher spent a year trying to get prostate biopsies into Wagga Base Hospital - a fight he was ultimately successful in with the procedures starting last July.
Since then, he has lobbied extensively to bring one of the nurses to Wagga, following an announcement from then-health minister Tanya Plibersek that 13 more nurses would be allocated Australia-wide over four years in July last year.
Mr Bowcher has taken the news that Wagga has missed out hard.
"There's nothing I can do - he's made his mind up," he said.
Even more concerning for Mr Bowcher is what this failure to attract federal health dollars to Wagga may mean for the city's other pressing needs in the sector.
"If (Mr McCormack) can't find money for a prostate nurse, what chance has he got of finding money for a palliative hospice?" he said.
News the program faces an uncertain future has been condemned by Riverina Labor secretary Tim Kurylowicz, who has called on the government to honour the full $7 million program announced by the previous Labor government.
"This was only ever meant to be step one of bridging the gap in healthcare between regional and metro Australia," he said.
"It really does sit with the current health minister to tell us what he's going to do next to address these critical shortages."
The decision on which centres received nurses was made on the "incidence and prevalence" of prostate cancer diagnoses in each area.
Wagga missed out despite the rate of prostate cancer diagnoses across the Murrumbidgee Local Health District being 36 per cent higher than the state average.