The Rudd Government will invest $9.1 million to enhance cancer services at Lismore Base Hospital as part of a North Coast Cancer Institute Regional Cancer Service.

With some cancers, patients from rural areas are up to three times more likely to die within five years of diagnosis than their counterparts in urban areas.

The $9.1 million investment in Lismore will work towards improving the services and care for the more than 32,000 NSW residents diagnosed with cancer each year.

The Government will provide $6.5 million to commission a second linear accelerator and a Positron Emissions Tomography/Computed Tomography (PET/CT) scanner at Lismore Base Hospital.

A further $2.6 million will be invested in a 20-unit cancer patient and carer accommodation facility, ‘Our House’, to be built adjacent to the new cancer care centre at the Lismore Base Hospital.

The investment means people across the North Coast will no longer have to travel to Brisbane or Sydney to receive treatment, and can get care closer to home and with the support of their family.

The additional infrastructure will also underpin planning for future expansion of radiotherapy services in this region.

‘Our House’ will provide a home base for carers and cancer patients who need accommodation when they come to Lismore to receive their treatment.

Member for Page Janelle Saffin said this was a wonderful announcement and will mean vastly improved cancer care for patients on the North Coast, as well as a place to stay for their carers.

“There were many local submissions for this, and I lobbied hard to see these facilities become a reality on the North Coast, and I am delighted that the cancer care services the Northern Rivers community have asked for will be delivered,” she said.

“I am very excited by this announcement and I want to thank the community and particularly Dr Chris Ingall and Dr Adam Boyce for their hard work on these cancer care initiatives.”
The North Coast Cancer Institute Regional Cancer Service forms part of the Rudd Government’s $560 million investment in regional and rural cancer centres to ensure all Australians can get care closer to home and their community.

It builds on the Rudd Government’s other investment for Lismore Base Hospital:

$7 million to fast-track the building of the integrated cancer centre at the Lismore Base Hospital bringing the total Commonwealth contribution to $15 million. The new building is due to be completed and operational by 31 May 2010;
$8.3 million to expand the Emergency Department through an additional eight beds; $600,000 for Elective Surgery equipment.

Today’s announcement also shows the benefit of the Federal Government stepping up to the plate and providing funding for health services across Australia.

Under the National Health and Hospitals Network, the Rudd Government would provide 60 per cent of the funding for capital upgrades for public hospitals.  

The Rudd Government’s plan will see health services funded nationally and run locally through local hospital networks to deliver better outcomes for local communities.