Albany to get state-of-the-art radiation service

18/9/2018

FEDERAL Member for O’Connor Rick Wilson MP is proud to announce Albany is to receive $6.6 million through the Australian Government’s Radiation Oncology Health Program Grants Scheme for the establishment of a gold standard radiotherapy service.

Mr Wilson said the funding would be used to purchase a linear accelerator, a CT simulator and a CT interfacing planning and computer system for three workstations, which will be managed and operated by Genesis Cancer Care. The service has a planned operational date of June 30, 2019.

“I have appealed to the state government to assist in the prompt installation and operation of this much needed radiotherapy facility and would like to acknowledge key businesses and individuals, many of whom have had their lives touched by cancer and have made it clear they back this project for their Great Southern community,” Mr Wilson said.

“I give a special shout-out to Mary Williams who has been pivotal in disseminating information and raising funds for this much needed radiation facility. While Mary has very much understated her role, she has been involved in fundraisers, including everything from sausage sizzles to a 24-hour radiothon.

“Mary and her team of volunteers have conducted an information campaign, including street signage along our regional roads and infomercials in local medical centres. Local farmers have lent their eye-catching support by wrapping their silage in multicoloured covers, creating a colourful patchwork throughout the paddocks of the Great Southern.

“Mary has named the Mayor of the City of Albany, Dennis Wellington, as a great supporter, along with the Denmark Community Foundation, the Denmark CRC, the Denmark Medical Centre, IGA, Red Dot, Albany Party Hire, Soroptimist International, and others too numerous to name. “

Minister for Health, Greg Hunt has committed to visiting Albany at the first possible opportunity to meet with cancer patients their families, support networks and the region’s dedicated regional medical practitioners and specialists.

Mr Wilson said the City of Albany, with a broader catchment of 60,000-plus people, represents the largest area outside of Perth and Bunbury where patients do not have local access to radiation oncology services.

“While we are fortunate to have many dedicated specialists working in the Great Southern, I often encounter constituents who need to travel long distances and endure protracted separation from their families to receive the therapy they require,” Mr Wilson said.

“For many, the stress of temporarily relocating to Perth is compounded by the financial burden of these potentially life-saving treatments in addition to the cost of travel and transport.

The average length of treatment is four weeks and in some instances as long as seven weeks, this is a long time to be away from home.  

Mr Wilson said that a recent study by the University of WA suggested that nearly every rural cancer patient experienced considerable out-of-pocket expenses while undergoing potentially life-saving treatments.

“The survey found rural patients paid out-of-pocket expenses of around $2,100 per person, with the cost of accommodation making up around 12 per cent and fuel around eight per cent.

“Currently, patients from the Great Southern are funded to undergo treatment in Perth or Bunbury, receiving state government financial support in the form of the Patient Assisted Travel Scheme which only covers fuel costs and a percentage of hotel bills.

“Many patients who would benefit from radiotherapy opt for other treatments or choose no treatment at all. Such is the burden of travelling when so ill.”

 

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