PETER’S Project could start looking to the private sector to fast- track the opening of a south-west integrated cancer care centre.
The latest funding option was revealed at a meeting yesterday between committee members and Victorian Health Minister David Davis.
Peter’s Project representatives have been in discussions with Melbourne-based Epworth Private Hospital to field interest in partnering with the state to offer radiotherapy treatment in the south-west.
Project supporters are ramping up their campaign this election year and are still seeking $10 million contributions from state and federal governments.
Mr Davis would not comment yesterday on whether the government would allocate the further funds.
He said the government had already provided $5 million in radiotherapy funding and was now searching for options in the lead-up to May’s state budget.
“That was provided in the last state budget and that is in place. Some additional resources will be required and we’re working through how we might be able to do that with other governments as partners and the private sector,” Mr Davis said.
“There’s several models that are possible and Peter’s Project have put their model to me and that will be assessed by the department with the other models that exist.”
Peter’s Project committee member Vern Robson said the possibility of partnering with Epworth would see the hospital’s cancer expertise passed on to Warrnambool.
He said the two groups met in November last year for preliminary discussions.
Meanwhile, the Health Minister urged campaigners to start lobbying politicians from Mount Gambier and south-east South Australia to support the centre.
Mount Gambier, with a population of about 32,000 people but no radiotherapy services, has just two chemotherapy chairs and one fly-in oncologist who visits fortnightly.
“There’s going to be more people from Mount Gambier and Naracoorte who come over to Victoria to use the service,” Mr Robson said.