Member for Page Janelle Saffin today welcomed the arrival of Lismore Base Hospital’s first linear accelerator  as a major boost in enhancing cancer care services on the North Coast.

Ms Saffin and State Member for Lismore Thomas George inspected the near-completed Integrated Cancer Care Centre at the hospital, where they received a briefing from North Coast Area Health Service CEO Chris Crawford.

One of Ms Saffin’s major election commitments was $15 million in Commonwealth funding to fast-track the cancer care centre so that it will be operational from the end of May this year. The NSW Government’s contribution is $12 million.

Ms Saffin said the $2.7 million ELEKTA linear accelerator – the single most expensive equipment item in the project – will increase the availability of radiation oncology services and improve health outcomes for cancer patients in our region.

“This new machine in Lismore will be linked with similar technologies in Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie, giving the people of Page easy access to the highest quality, safe radiation oncology services,” she said.

“Two new technical specialists, medical physicist Nick Bennie and deputy chief radiation therapist Stephen Manley, have joined the cancer care centre. Over the next three months, the linear accelerator will be commissioned and new frontline staff will be trained.”

Associate Professor Tom Shakespeare will also commence the first Lismore Radiation Oncology Clinic in April.

The linear accelerator will be housed in one of the centre’s two bunkers, which has capacity for a second linear accelerator in the future.

The radiation oncology service will also include a CT scanner for radiotherapy planning, an X-ray unit to treat skin cancers and associated work spaces integrated with the existing cancer care unit that will relocate to the new cancer care centre in May.

The Integrated Cancer Care Centre is being built by National Buildplan Group with the project managed by Health Infrastructure NSW and directed by NSW Public Works.