Radiation oncology provider GenesisCare has secured a $6.95 million Federal Government health program grant to establish radiotherapy services in Shepparton.
The funding model for the service is yet to be confirmed, with key stakeholders to discuss whether it be a public private partnership in the coming months.
‘‘We are delighted that our application has been successful ... this is an essential step in making the service a reality,’’ GenesisCare Victoria general manager Shane Ryan said.
‘‘We are currently investigating site options and operational models for the proposed service. Once confirmed, we could potentially be treating patients within 12 to 18 months.’’
Goulburn Valley Health chief executive Trevor Saunders said the hospital was supportive of a radiotherapy license being issued to GenesisCare.
‘‘We are still working with the Department of Health and Human Services on planning and funding a comprehensive cancer service in the Goulburn Valley,’’ he said.
‘‘As part of stage one or stage two of the Goulburn Valley Hospital redevelopment.’’
Mr Saunders said the granting of the license was a result of population demand studies the hospital and the department did, which indicated the area has the clinical demand.
GenesisCare is the largest provider of radiation oncology in the country and operates eight centres in Victoria, including the Regional Cancer Centre in Albury.
‘‘(We’re) committed to enabling rapid access to the best possible cancer care and we are working closely with key stakeholders to bring radiation therapy to the Shepparton community,’’ Mr Ryan said.
State Member for Northern Victoria Wendy Lovell warned there was still work to be done to make sure services would be available to all patients.
‘‘Because they are a private provider, it is vital that the State Government works with GenesisCare so that any planned services are available and affordable,’’ she said.
‘‘State Health Minister (Jill Hennessy) and her government still have a role to play in providing the recurrent funding to ensure the delivery of equitable cancer services for all patients.’’
Federal Member for Murray Damian Drum echoed Ms Lovell’s thoughts calling on the Victorian Government to ‘‘step up and get this facility built’’.
‘‘I’m delighted the Federal Government has been able to make this funding available,’’ he said.
‘‘This is going to give them (GenesisCare) the money for a linear accelerator, computer planning system, a simulator and a low dose brachytherapy.’’
State Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed said she would work with the government to bring together the funding for radiotherapy services, which she anticipated would be at Goulburn Valley Health.
‘‘I’m hoping to see it as part as stage one of the $185million hospital redevelopment ... and that is what I’ll advocate for,’’ she said.
A spokesperson for Ms Hennessy’s office refused to make any funding commitments, saying it was heartening GenesisCare continued to invest in cancer services.
‘‘We are continuing discussions with GenesisCare about how we can work alongside them on future plans for the region,’’ she said.
‘‘We will not be lectured by Wendy Lovell and the Liberals when we are getting on with the job they failed to deliver while in government.’’