MOVES to establish a regional cancer treatment centre in Warrnambool are a step closer with the state government calling for expressions of interest from health agencies or companies to run the service.
Registration of Capability documents were issued by Premier and South West Coast MP Denis Napthine in conjunction with Health Minister David Davis and expressions will close on November 21.
“Once a preferred operator is identified the project will work closely with them to design and build the facility,” Mr Davis said.
The call follows a recent federal Coalition pre-election commitment of $10 million and the state government’s $15 allocation.
Another $5m will come from community fund-raising through the Peter’s Project appeal, which has already reached about $3m.
The proposed centre will be built opposite the base hospital on the site of the old Ryot Street dental clinic building.
It will have two radiotherapy bunkers, one linear accelerator, a physics and planning area including a computed tomography (CT) machine plus a wing for patient assistance and after-care advice. Dr Napthine said the request for capability process was an important step in ensuring people from Warrnambool, Portland, Hamilton and other towns no longer would have to travel up to 300 kilometres each way for radiotherapy at Geelong or Ballarat.
He said the centre was expected to treat more than 400 patients a year when fully operational.
Peter’s Project founder Vicki Jellie said it was hoped the centre could be operating within the next three years.
“This announcement is a huge step forward,” she said. “It will be built by the government and run by the chosen operator. On-going costs will be met by the government.”