Cancer Council Australia

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COSA, Cancer Council welcome $65m government investment in Albury Wodonga cancer centre

Australian Government funding of $65 million to expand a cancer centre in Albury Wodonga is a major investment in reducing geographic inequity in cancer care outcomes, Cancer Council Australia and the Clinical Oncological Society of Australia (COSA) said today (3 May 2011). 

CEO of Cancer Council Australia, Professor Ian Olver, said people in regional and rural areas generally experienced inferior cancer care outcomes compared with those in metropolitan centres and that the best way to reduce the inequity was to bring services closer to patients.

?By expanding inpatient and day patient places, radiotherapy facilities and purchasing a range of other new equipment, this $65 million grant will over time enable thousands of local people with cancer to be treated closer to home, rather than travelling vast distances to a capital city,? Professor Olver said.

?Until 2009, substantial federal funding had never been allocated to cancer centres in regional Australia, so the Government should be commended for continuing that initiative with this well-targeted funding package for Albury Wodonga.?

COSA President, Professor Bogda Koczwara, said the investment would lead to significant and lasting improvements in patient care, particularly if all jurisdictions and the independent clinical community continued to work in partnership towards improved service delivery.

?Such a substantial injection of capital funding provides great scope for reducing the disparities between urban and rural cancer care outcomes,? Professor Koczwara said.

?It is a great opportunity for federal and state governments to work together to improve long-term service delivery, with Albury Wodonga providing a good model for reform, as it spans two state jurisdictions and was the subject of a previous study on integrated cancer funding in a regional setting.?

Professor Koczwara said COSA was keen to work with government on contributing to a longer-term plan aimed at helping to ensure the capital investment in regional cancer care delivered optimal returns in terms of patient outcomes.

?Developing guidelines for which cancer cases can be treated in centres such as an expanded Albury Wodonga facility and which will still require referral to  large city hospital, and measures for ensuring the regional centres are adequately networked are among the considerations for ensuring treatment outcomes are optimised,? she said.

Media contact:
Abby Samuel
Phone: 02 8063 4100 
Mobile: 0432 693 315 

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