Construction of the new $15.2million South-West radiotherapy centre has begun with the occasion being marked by the ceremonial turning of the first sod.
The State Government is investing $9.2million and the Federal Government contributing $6million to the centre - the first of its kind for regional Western Australia.
Health Minister Kim Hames said the centre, to be built at the South West Health Campus in Bunbury, fulfilled a Liberal-National Government election commitment.
“We promised to provide state-of-the-art facilities and services for the majority of cancer patients requiring radiation oncology treatment in the region,” Dr Hames said.
“This centre is a priority for people in the South-West and I am pleased to see that it is now becoming a reality.
“Patients suffering from the most common cancers, including cancer of the breast, colon, lung, prostate and those undergoing palliative treatments for symptom control, will soon be able to be treated locally, remaining closer to their homes and the support of family and friends.”
The Minister said the work was being carried out by local builders Perkins (WA) Pty Ltd and was on target for completion by mid-2011.
“It is anticipated that in the first five years of operation, the centre will treat up to 400 patients a year, increasing to about 670 patients by 2021, in line with expected population growth,” he said.
“In order to meet this future demand, two radiation oncology bunkers will be built at the centre, which will also include clinic and consultation facilities; treatment rooms; dedicated patient reception and waiting rooms; and staff and support services areas.”
Bunbury MLA John Castrilli, who performed today’s ceremonial turning of the first sod, said he was delighted the construction work had begun as, once completed, the centre would be of enormous benefit to the local community.
“As a community we must do everything possible to support those who are seriously ill and most in need of our care,” Mr Castrilli said.
“Having a local radiotherapy centre will greatly ease the stress and travel costs for South-West patients having to travel to Perth for treatment.
“It means they will be able to receive treatment in familiar surroundings and close to their families and support networks, which will be a huge benefit to their overall wellbeing.”
The new radiology centre will complement the comprehensive cancer centres announced on April 7 by the Federal Government. Together, these exciting new cancer service initiatives will ensure access to state-of-the-art cancer services for South-West residents.
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