A new standard of cancer treatment and care is now available to the residents of Ballarat and surrounding regions following a $42 million Federal Labor Government investment and a $13 million contribution from the Victorian Government.
Opening the Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre today, the Minister for Health and Minister for Medical Research, Tanya Plibersek, said the new and expanded services would care for an additional 800 residents from the region.
"The Integrated Cancer Centre is part of the Federal Government’s $2 billion investment to keep building a world class cancer system for Australia," Ms Plibersek said.
“Now Ballarat can offer four new radiotherapy bunkers, two linear accelerators, a CT scanner, four new chemotherapy chairs bringing the total to 16 chairs, oncology consulting and outpatient rooms for specialists, a satellite pharmacy, and clinical trials and research facilities.
“All of these services at the Ballarat Base Hospital campus are provided in a patient-friendly and high-quality facility which supports multidisciplinary clinical and supportive care.
“As a result, the 250,000 people living in the Ballarat and Grampians regions will now have access to the highest standard of chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment closer to home – reducing the need to travel to Melbourne for these services.
“I am particularly pleased that the Integrated Cancer Centre includes a highly anticipated Wellness Centre which can be accessed between hospital appointments. The Wellness Centre will support patients, their families and carers and help them cope with the emotional and physical side effects of cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery.”
The Federal Member for Ballarat, Catherine King, welcomed the centre’s opening.
“This is a great day for Ballarat. It’s not just residents and patients who will benefit from this new Integrated Cancer Centre, it will also attract increased involvement in our region by a range of expert cancer clinicians,” Ms King said.
“These new facilities at Ballarat are an important component of the Federal Government’s plan to build a world-class cancer care system around Australia.”
Ms Plibersek said since coming to government in 2007, Labor has invested $4 billion in cancer projects and services, including $2 billion to build a world class cancer system for Australia.
“We need to achieve more successful cancer treatment results among patients in regional areas before we can reach world-class standard. By comparison, city counterparts have always had much better facilities,” Ms Plibersek said.
“That’s why we’re building 25 Regional Cancer Centres and associated accommodation facilities – funded by a Commonwealth investment of $672 million.
“They’re being rolled out through the Federal Government’s nation-building Health and Hospitals Fund which invests in the nation’s long-term future as well as strengthening our national economy.
“Thirteen of our 25 regional cancer centre projects are now under construction and ten have been completed.”
Sub-regional and local health services will also benefit from increased local services to radiotherapy services for their patients, as well as increased access to consultancy support from the Integrated Cancer Centre.