Cancer patients across Western New South Wales now have access to life-saving treatment and diagnostic services closer to home, following the opening of the $35 million Western Cancer Centre.
Regional Health Minister Dr David Gillespie and Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton today toured the newly-opened facility at Dubbo Hospital.
Mr Coulton said it was wonderful to see the Western Cancer Centre complete and open to patients.
“After years of campaigning for this centre, it’s so exciting to be here today to see it in action,” Mr Coulton said.
“This facility is providing crucial care and support to cancer patients across regional NSW, allowing people in the bush to stay closer to loved ones during treatment.
“It’s so heartening to hear how it’s already benefitting people throughout the region, people like Tracey Brown from Wellington who was the very first patient to receive radiation therapy treatment in the new facility.
“Living only 30 minutes away from the new Cancer Centre, and requiring treatment for prostate cancer every day for four weeks, Tracey was able to be treated in the morning and be back home for lunch, making the whole experience much more positive.
“This is exactly why this facility is so important – it means regional people no longer have to travel to metropolitan centres to access the treatment they need and deserve.
“I’m looking forward to celebrating with everyone who helped make this happen at the official opening early next year.”
As a former regional doctor, Dr Gillespie said it was important that locals could access care and treatment in their community and be treated by local doctors and health professionals.
“Country people have a strong affinity with their community and their local hospital, so for patients to now be able to have this treatment here instead of travelling is one-less burden for people going through cancer,” Dr Gillespie said.
“Additionally, having a strong local hospital helps to attract more doctors, nurses and health professionals to the region, as it gives them with more exposure to new technologies and increases their range of clinical skills.”
In addition to the radiation therapy bunker, the Western Cancer Centre Dubbo includes 16 chemotherapy spaces - doubling capacity - as well as new consultation rooms and a wellness space to provide support and well-being services to patients and their families.
The cancer centre opened to patients on 20 September 2021, with the clinic rooms and reception opening first, followed by the new chemotherapy treatment spaces and radiation therapy on the 19 October.
On the ground floor beside the radiation therapy bunker is the PET-CT Scanner. Providing advanced diagnostic services for the Cancer Centre and other specialist services at Dubbo Hospital, the PET-CT Scanner is one of only a handful in the state. It is currently being commissioned and will open at full capacity in the coming months.
The Australian Government provided $25 million for the state-of-the-art health service, with the NSW Government contributing the remaining $10 million.
The project supported 500 jobs during construction and it creates another 70 ongoing jobs in medical, nursing, allied health, administration and support services.