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Promised South Coast radiation therapy services gets alliance support

In April 2019, in the leadup to the Federal election the Nationals announced under their electioneering promises that in addition to the $6 billion a year the Liberal National Government provides for cancer treatments and services, the LNP are investing $63.4 million to expand cancer treatment capacity through new radiation therapy services in 13 regional locations.

"The federally funded initiative will provide greater access, help and support for people fighting cancer. The new centres will deliver high quality, comprehensive radiation oncology services in the following areas" South Coast (Eurobodalla) was identified as being one of the 13 locations. An alliance of the four leading bodies representing the radiation therapy sector has

today outlined key requirements to ensure Australians living in regional and rural areas

have improved access to quality cancer care.

The Radiation Oncology Alliance worked together to update the Establishing and

sustaining regional and rural radiation therapy centres issues paper, first published in

2016. The alliance consists of The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of

Radiologists’ (RANZCR) Faculty of Radiation Oncology, Australasian College for

Physical Scientists and Engineers in Medicine (ACPSEM), Australian Society of

Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy (ASMIRT), and Cancer Nurses Society of

Australia (CNSA).

The paper outlines principles to guide the establishment of radiation therapy services in

regional and rural areas, including workforce and resourcing, IT infrastructure, and

local collaboration. We welcome the $63 million commitment from the Australian

Government to build radiation therapy treatment centres in 13 new locations across

regional and rural Australia and hope the paper will provide guidance to make these

centres a success.

RANZCR President Dr Lance Lawler said, “We know that cancer outcomes are

currently worse for regional and rural patients. They face many challenges in accessing

the care they need, including travel and accommodation for outpatient treatments like

radiation therapy. The new regional radiation therapy centres will help address these

current gaps in cancer services and better meet the individual needs of the

communities they will service.

“It is recommended that the facility be integrated within local health services and

establish linkages with tertiary centres. We urge the government and other

stakeholders to carefully consider all factors outlined in this paper to ensure that the

new radiation therapy centres deliver quality care and equitable outcomes for cancer

patients in regional Australia.”

RANZCR will continue to work closely with the Australian Government to ensure

regional and rural cancer patients have access to the highest quality cancer care.

Image: Mikael Häggström

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