At last, there appears to be movement at the station.
News a private health provider has secured Federal Government funding for the establishment of radiotherapy services in Shepparton will bring a collective sigh of relief for many members of our community.
Unfortunately, the news has come too late for cancer sufferers such as Mooroopna’s Sergia Thompson, who lost her battle in July, but it will be welcome for many who are still being forced to travel hours for treatment.
The Radiation Oncology Health Program Grant for GenesisCare to provide services in Shepparton is Federal Government money, so credit must go to our Federal Member for Murray Damian Drum for his part in securing this long-awaited funding.
Applause must also go to our State Member for Northern Victoria Wendy Lovell, who has done much to keep this vital issue in the public sphere by telling individual stories of hardship and suffering in the Victorian parliament.
At The News we have been happy to support Ms Lovell’s public campaign by publicising the long-suffering plight of cancer sufferers whenever they wish to share their stories.
We await the details of when and exactly where this vital service will become available.
Equally important are details about exactly who will be able to access this service.
GenesisCare provides cancer treatment in Australia, the United Kingdom and Spain on a mix of private and public access.
A question remains — who in Shepparton will be able to access this service?
Put simply, if it is at Goulburn Valley Health, under a private/public arrangement, then the service will become available to more people than if it is offered at a private premises away from the hospital.
Of course, for any radiotherapy services to be offered at GV Health on an ongoing basis, depends on funding from the Victorian Government.
So it seems the ducks are lining up — Mr Drum has done his part in securing federal funding for a private player, Ms Lovell has done her part in pushing the message in state parliament.
The ball is in the court of Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy.