Lismore's PET project underway
IT TOOK years of concerted "badgering" of politicians, thousands of dollars in community fundraising and a committed campaign by The Northern Star to make it happen and yesterday the first sod was turned in the construction of works to accommodate Lismore Base Hospital's new PET/CT and MRI scanners.
Even when community groups, medical staff and local politicians were campaigning and fundraising for the new additions to Lismore Base's cancer services, few believed it would come true for the regional hospital.
However, yesterday all naysayers were proved wrong when Page MP Janelle Saffin turned the first sod on what will be the best regional cancer diagnosis service centre in Australia.
"The installation of a PET/CT scanner at the LBH is a unique initiative with no other regional hospital in Australia having such capability," Ms Saffin said.
"These new facilities will save lives."
Patients will now be spared having to travel to Queensland for cancer diagnosis with an estimated 2500 patients each year undergoing PET/CT scans and 3000 undergoing MRI scans at Lismore Base.
"This takes the hospital to the next level," Chris Crawford, chief executive of the North Coast Area Health Service, said.
The $7.7 million cost of the equipment and building works is being jointly funded by the Commonwealth and NSW Governments.
"This is so needed in our region. I'm just so excited today," Leonie Dahl, National President of Scopes Club of Australia, whose Ballina club raised $10,500 towards the project, said
"We have members and their families with cancer and they'd have to travel for treatment and testing," she said.
"We really weren't sure it was going to happen.
"We were told these things don't happen in the country, but the community pushed for it and made it happen."