Labor says it will fast-track radiotherapy services

Federal Labor today unveiled a plan to fast-track the completion of radiotherapy services at Lismore Base Hospital.

Labor says a Rudd Government will invest a total of $15 million in radiotherapy services at Lismore Base Hospital.

“Federal Labor will honour the $8 million previously committed by Minister Abbott but it will provide an extra $7 million to bring forward the construction of the radiotherapy unit from the current completion date of March 2011,” the ALP said.

“Federal Labor understands how important the radiotherapy service is to the people of Lismore and surrounding areas.”

Page candidate Janelle Saffin said: “I’m absolutely delighted to have secured this commitment from Federal Labor to fast-tracking completion of the radiotherapy service for the people of Lismore. As the founder of the North Coast Breast Screening Program and a former member of the Hospital Board, I understand how important cancer services are for the people of this area.”

Labor said: “Cancer experts predict there will be 1600-1700 new cancer cases in Lismore and surrounding areas this year alone. More than half of these patients will require radiotherapy.

“Currently, cancer patients are forced to travel for hours to Brisbane or Sydney if they require radiotherapy. This travel burden adds to patients’ pain and suffering.

“It is time that someone took charge and got this much needed service moving.

“That is why Federal Labor will expect the NSW Government to complete the construction of the radiotherapy unit by the end of 2009.

“Of the $7 million Federal Labor will provide to fast-track this project, $3.5 million will be provided up front, and $3.5 million will be provided on completion.

“To ensure the NSW Government meets the tough deadline, the radiotherapy unit must be completed by March 2010 or it will forfeit the completion payment.

“This will provide an incentive for the project to be finished within Federal Labor’s deadline so the people of Lismore can have access to this important service as quickly as possible.

“In contrast, the Nationals have only promised an extra $2 million towards this service, but they have no plan at all for when it will be delivered.”

Opposition shadow Health spokeswoman Nicola Roxon said: “I’m very pleased to be able to announce that Federal Labor will be able to bring forward this important servicefor the people of Lismore. This is thanks to Janelle Saffin’s efforts and her persistent lobbying of both Kevin Rudd and I. This is what Federal Labor’s $2.5 billion plan is all about — providing better services to local communities like Lismore.”

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