LISMORE’S new cancer unit does not have space to fit the new high-tech PET scanner announced by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on Tuesday, the health service confirmed yesterday.
The Northern Star also understands it could be anywhere up to four years before the new equipment arrives.
North Coast Area Health Service chief executive Chris Crawford said it would have to build a new structure, with the same radiation-proof qualities as the two radiotherapy bunkers already in the unit, to house the scanner. The most likely location would be neighbouring the cancer unit in the car park of the new Richmond Clinic.
It was not clear whether the money announced by Mr Rudd on Tuesday included the cost of the new structure but, either way, the Mr Crawford said the health service would have to go to NSW Health for extra funding, not just for the new bunker, but also for the installation of it and the second radiotherapy unit, also announced on Tuesday, and for the running of both.
Mr Crawford expected there would be some intense negotiations between the area health service and the department over what was needed, but was confident the cancer unit would get the funding it needed to allow for the extra equipment.
“It’s good to have the Prime Minister come up to announce it,” Mr Crawford said, adding that would add some extra weight to the area health service’s arguments for extra funding.
The Northern Star understands the new funding announced by Mr Rudd at Lismore and Port Macquarie on Tuesday, and earlier at Townsville, is part of a four-year Federal funding program.
That does not mean it would necessarily take the full four years to get the equipment, but funding for the projects would be mixed with others that were being allocated over that period.
Mr Crawford said he was hopeful Lismore would get its second radiotherapy device fairly early in that process, because the space for it was already there in the new cancer unit. The PET scanner, on the other hand, may well be at the end of the line because the new structure had to be built for it first.
THANKS to the following individuals and groups who campaigned and did fundraising for Lismore’s new PET scanner, announced by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on Tuesday:
Federal Page MP Janelle Saffin, State Lismore MP Thomas George, State Ballina MP Don Page, State Clarence MP Steve Cansdell, Dr Chris Ingall, Dr Sue Page, Marshall Fittler and the members of Regional Community Watch, Dr Adam Boyce, Dr John Mullholland and North Coast Radiology, Dr Deepak Williams, Dr Austin Curtin, the Northern Rivers Prostate Cancer Association, NSW CWA, Northern Rivers Aged Pensioners’ Association, Lismore Base Hospital Palliative Care Group, Lismore Breast Cancer Group, Lismore Big Band, Cancer Council NSW, Sunrise Rotary, Northern Rivers Big Band, Bangalow Bowling Club, Sunrise Rotary, Northern Rivers Working Dog Association, Bobbys Hair and Beauty, Brian Speakman, Michael Gates, Paradise FM, Lismore Workers Heights Bowling Club, Carmel Cook, Ballina SCOPE Club, Ron Gibson, Jenny Dowell and Isaac Smith for the Lismore City Council, The Northern Star, the Far North Coast Law Society, Warren Meanwell.
Apologies if we’ve missed anyone.