$26 million for an Integrated Cancer Centre at GV Health

By Liz Mellino

Construction is anticipated to begin in the next two to three years on an Integrated Cancer Centre at Goulburn Valley Health in Shepparton.

The news comes following a $26million funding announcement yesterday by the Federal Government to build a new state-of-the-art centre which will expand the current cancer services at Goulburn Valley Health and introduce a range of new programs of care for people in the region.

GV Health chief executive officer Matt Sharp said the funding would allow the Integrated Cancer Centre to be about three to four times the size of the current building at Graham St.

‘‘The facility that we currently have, the Peter Copulos Cancer and Wellness Centre, is not quite large enough to meet the growing demand to provide the best practice care the people of this region need,’’ he said.

‘‘We know across the region the amount of people being diagnosed and requiring treatment for cancer is increasing and it is really important that we are able to provide the best practice care and services to meet the increasing demand.’’

The new building will provide an expansion of the current medical day oncology services, additional clinical spaces for medical specialists, nursing specialists and allied health professionals and increase the wellness services available to cancer patients.

The funding was announced yesterday through the Community Health and Hospitals Program, with the new centre forming stage two of GV Health’s Comprehensive Cancer Services Plan.

Federal Member for Murray Damian Drum welcomed the news the centre would house wellbeing services and allied health care under the one roof.

‘‘For most patients, fighting a cancer battle would be the toughest time of their life,’’ he said. ‘‘I look forward to seeing this major expansion to cancer services transform the experience of those affected by cancer in our region.’’

Mr Sharp said GV Health would work closely with GenesisCare’s radiotherapy service which is set to open in Corio St in Shepparton by the end of the year.

He said public and private patients would be able to access radiotherapy services in the town alongside the centre services.

‘‘That’s really a significant and important thing in terms of our partnership with GenesisCare — that we’re absolutely committed to making sure the public patients have good access to cancer care and indeed any care and treatment they require. We will be working closely to make sure people can access radiotherapy locally for public patients.

‘‘It will mean that people in this region won’t have to travel the long distances they’re currently having to travel to receive their care and treatment.’’

Editorial, page 8