Delay in Albany radiation oncology service “unacceptable”

Headshot of Sarah Makse
Sarah MakseAlbany Advertiser
Roger Cook, Mary Williams, Dr Paddy Glackin and Mark McGowan with the oncology unit plans.
Camera IconRoger Cook, Mary Williams, Dr Paddy Glackin and Mark McGowan with the oncology unit plans. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

O’Connor MP Rick Wilson has called on the State Government to fast-track the construction of Albany’s new cancer treatment facility after “unacceptable” delays.

Health Minister Roger Cook announced in December the State Government’s $13 million Radiation Oncology Service was “on track” and set to be completed by early 2022.

However, Mr Cook has revealed the project, which would create a “significant legacy for future generations”, was now expected to be operational in the second half of 2022.

“This important radiation oncology project in the Great Southern is progressing and is well into the design phase, consistent with the project’s timeframe,” Mr Cook said.

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“Both the project definition plan and schematic design are nearing finalisation, and have been occurring parallel to each other to streamline the process.”

The ward will be the first of its kind for the Great Southern and will contain a specialised bunker known as a Linac suite which will be located within the Cancer Centre at the Albany Health Campus.

O’Connor MP Rick Wilson Pic: AAP
Camera IconO’Connor MP Rick Wilson Pic: AAP Credit: MICK TSIKAS/AAPIMAGE

In February, the State Government announced the facility had reached the schematic design phase to finalise the overall layout.

The design was expected to take about six months, with construction set to take a further 12 months.

Mr Wilson said the delays were “unacceptable”.

“Families in Albany and the Great Southern have waited far too longfor locally available, state-of-the-art radiation cancer treatment,” he said.

“The coronavirus pandemic has made it clear, regional communities need access to this vital service today.”

Mr Wilson questioned why the service had not made the list of priority infrastructure projects to be fast-tracked in response to COVID-19.

“I’m calling on Premier McGowan to fast-track this vital project so our loved ones can receive potentially lifesaving radiation treatment at home in the Great Southern,” he said.

Mr Cook said the State Government was already working to streamline the project.

“However, this is a complex operation in biomedical engineering to create a specialised bunker for radiation equipment,” he said.

“The design and construction needs to protect the safety of patients and staff so they aren’t exposed to unnecessary radiation.”

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