The Manning Great Lakes is to get not only radiation therapy services, but a comprehensive holistic Cancer Care Centre, it was announced today, Thursday April 7.
Cancer Care Partners will be opening the Manning Great Lakes Cancer Care Centre which will provide integrated on-site services plus an outreach service for new and post-treatment patients in the Great Lakes.
The centre will provide for radiotherapy with help from the federal government to the tune of $4.5 million, while Cancer Care Partners say they will be investing anywhere up to $15 million to build the centre and provide a suite of medical oncology services including chemotherapy and immunotherapy, and an oncology pharmacy, haematology, a lymphoedema clinic, plus ancillary services.
The provision of radiation oncology in the Manning will mean patients undergoing radiotherapy will no longer have to travel daily to Port Macquarie and back, or stay at the Mater Hospital in Newcastle for an extended length of time.
"That can be a horrible thing for a cancer patient who's going through a very difficult time to be away from their family, because treatment can be up to eight weeks, and to have the added expense and the burden and the displacement," Cancer Care Partners chairman Dr Tony Noun said.
"Whereas here they can receive their treatment and, provided they're well enough to go home every day, be with family, be with their loved ones during a very, very difficult mental and physical time."
The new centre will be modelled on the Cancer Care Partners centre in the Riverina which has been operating for 20 years, whereby the service operates 'hand in glove' with public health.
Patients will be bulk-billed and will have no out of pockets expenses, Dr Noun said. In addition, the Cancer Care Foundation, a registered charity, can assist patients needing help with costs that Medicare doesn't cover.
"One of the things we've been working with for almost 30 years is about making cancer care accessible for all Australians. And that remains the number one priority for us," Dr Noun said.
We don't care whether you can afford it or not. The bottom line is we want to provide a service that's accessible to everyone.- Dr Tony Noun, chairman Cancer Care Partners
"The philosophy is that if a patient needs cancer care, we want to provide it.
"Most importantly, we don't care whether you can afford it or not. The bottom line is we want to provide a service that's accessible to everyone and we're not going to say, 'Well, I'm sorry, but you can't afford treatment, go away'."
Cancer Care Partners expect to reach an agreement on a site for the centre, which will be close to Manning Base Hospital, in the next few weeks. Due to planning and building, it is expected the centre will be operational in around two years time.
Funding of $4.5 million for radiation services in the Manning Great Lakes was announced by Federal Member for Lyne and Regional Health Minister, Dr David Gillespie in March 2021.
"This is an incredibly exciting development for cancer care in our region," Dr Gillespie said at today's announcement of the Manning Great Lakes Cancer Care Centre.
"This is an exponential upgrade on the original plans we had supported, with far reaching benefits for our community.
"Cancer Care Partners have a track record of performing in many regional centres, and that's why they were chosen for this federal government grant to establish here."
The federal funding for the Manning Great Lakes Cancer Care Centre is part of the $63.4 million Fighting Cancer initiative to expand cancer treatment capacity across regional Australia.
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