Lismore's new cancer unit to open in early 2010
THE Lismore Base Hospital's Integrated Cancer Centre will be treating patients by the first half of 2010, North Coast Area Health Service chief executive officer Chris Crawford said at the weekend.
Currently, earthworks are under way at the site behind the Base Hospital and structural work is due to commence in February next year.
Reports that the construction had been delayed were wrong, Mr Crawford said.
“The Cancer Council has alleged that because there has been no release of the 'five-year radiotherapy plan' they have taken it to mean the centre has been delayed,” Mr Crawford said.
The plan outlines the State Government's cancer treatment spending for the next five years. However, the Lismore cancer unit was not dependent on the report, he said.
“It's full steam ahead,” he said.
The Federal Government has committed $15 million toward the unit, while the State Government is contributing $12 million.
The Commonwealth has also committed to providing recurrent operational funding.
Federal MP for Page Janelle Saffin said she had taken a personal interest in the Lismore cancer unit and it was through her efforts that the $15 million from the Federal Government was secured, allowing construction to begin a year early.
“The $27 million is secure,” Ms Saffin said.
The cancer centre will allow Northern Rivers residents to receive out-patient radiotherapy treatment in Lismore, rather than having to travel to Brisbane.
The unit will house a lineal accelerator which will be used to deliver radiotherapy to 350 patients a year. Stage two will see a second lineal accelerator in use and double the centre's treatment capacity.
The lineal accelerator gives doses of radiation for between 10 and 30 minutes to try to shrink tumours.
Currently, about 2000 people receive chemotherapy in Lismore each year.
The centre will provide local cancer patients with more treatment options.
As well as the cancer centre, National Buildplan Group will develop a Cardiac Catheter Laboratory as part of the same building contract.
It is anticipated the cardiac laboratory will treat its first patients in August or September next year.