Coffs? good news


COFFS HARBOUR'S cancer patients yesterday took yet another small step closer to realising their dream of local radiotherapy treatment.

Plans for the Integrated Cancer Service earmarked for the Mid North Coast (MNC) yesterday received a boost, with NSW Minister for Health Morris Iemma visiting the Coffs Harbour Health Campus to announce the appointment of a director for the service.

The position of the Clinical Director of Cancer Services will be filled by Dr Thomas Shakespeare, currently Head of Oncology Services, The Cancer Institute, at Tan Tock Seng Hospital in Singapore.

Dr Shakespeare's role will see him co-ordinate cancer services across the MNC and provide clinical leadership, service planning and development, operational management, quality and clinical government, clinical re-search and human resources management.

Mr Iemma made the announcement while on a regional visit to inspect preliminary plans for the $30 million MNC Integrated Cancer Care Service, which will have sites at Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie.

"This service will provide a wide range of cancer treatments ? including radiotherapy closer to the homes of MNC residents and planning is progressing well," Mr Iemma said.

Preliminary plans for the Coffs Harbour site involve the medical oncology unit currently based within the Health Campus being relocated to the new site, which will also house the BreastScreen services.

"The combined cancer service will also result in a strong network for staff and improved patient flow," Mr Iemma said.

Coffs Harbour mayor Keith Rhoades and Coffs Harbour City Council general manager Mark Ferguson joined the Minister at the announcement, saying they were excited that the local government and hospitals were able to work with the State Government on the project, for which the council had allocated land.

"It just goes to show how far the health industry has moved ahead in the past few years," Cr Rhoades said.

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