Praise for Lismore cancer unit
LISMORE Base has joined an elite core of NSW hospitals after the official opening yesterday of a new cancer unit and heart disease laboratory, North Coast Area Health Service chief executive Chris Crawford said.
Speaking at one of two official ceremonies at the hospital yesterday, Mr Crawford said Lismore Base was now the only hospital in NSW, outside of major referral hospitals in Sydney, to have both a radiotherapy unit for treating cancer and a coronary angiography unit for detecting heart disease.
The openings were attended variously by Rural and Regional Health Minister Warren Snowdon, NSW Health Minister and Deputy Premier Carmel Tebbutt, Page MP Janelle Saffin and Lismore MP Thomas George.
The high-tech radiotherapy unit was the main event in yesterday’s official launches, but the cancer unit also includes a new chemotherapy area and ‘clinic facilities’ for consultations and examinations.
The existing radiotherapy device will treat 420 patients a year, with that number doubling to 840 once a second device is installed. The unit also has a PET scanner on the way. Once in place the scanner will be used to help diagnose cancer and heart disease and develop treatment plans.
The angiography unit, or coronary cath lab, will be used to diagnose heart disease, angina and other cardiovascular illnesses. It will specialise in a procedure called cardio-catheterisation, which is used to tell if coronary arteries are blocked or narrowed by plaque.
Mr Snowdon and Ms Tebbutt said the cancer unit was the result of a ‘partnership’ between the Commonwealth and State governments.
All up, the Federal Government had tipped in $15 million to building the unit, including funds promised by then Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott in 2004, along with $12 million from NSW. Both governments have contributed to the second radiotherapy unit and PET scanner and the Our House accommodation facility.
Ms Saffin said the cancer unit ticked off one of her poll commitments in the 2007 campaign, when she convinced then Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd to promise to lift the Federal contribution for the unit.
Read more: Future of cancer care opens