Northern cancer support centre underway

Building has begun on the Northern Cancer Support Centre that will provide Tasmanians living with cancer with more support, comfort and information.

The cancer support centre will make life easier for cancer patients, and their families and friends by providing support groups, advice, relaxation classes, psychological support, informal lounges and reflective gardens.

The $4.3 million Launceston centre is jointly funded by the State and Commonwealth governments and Cancer Council Tasmania.

Cancer Council Tasmania researched cancer support centres worldwide to develop the best design and functions for those who will use the new centre.

The centre is within a short walk of the Launceston General Hospital’s Holman Clinic where patients receive cancer treatments.

The cancer support centre’s development will dovetail with the LGH Holman Clinic expansion, which provides northern Tasmanians with the latest radiation therapy treatment.

The Holman Clinic installed a new linear accelerator and a brachytherapy unit late last year at a cost of $7 million and will expand its chemotherapy space to 30 treatment chairs to help meet demand.

Government funding for the centre comes from the Health and Hospitals Fund under the Regional Cancer Centres initiative to improve access to essential cancer services for people in rural, regional and remote areas.

Tasmania will receive $18.7 million towards comprehensive cancer centres in each health region.

In the south, the Royal Hobart Hospital redevelopment will establish a new integrated cancer centre housing a multi-disciplinary outpatient clinic centre with better chemotherapy and consultation facilities, and an additional radio therapy bunker.

It will also provide a dedicated patient services centre with psycho-social support, training and education, preventive workshops and complementary healthcare services.

In the north west, a new cancer care centre at the North West Regional Hospital will provide 12 chemotherapy chairs, a magnetic resonance imaging machine, a palliative care base, consulting rooms and teaching facilities.

These projects are part of a $48 million investment by government and non-government sources in improved cancer services across Tasmania.