Strengthening Cancer Care For Barrie Families
New Regional Cancer Centre And Portable Radiation Unit Will Help Patients Get Faster Care, Closer To Home
The Ontario government is improving cancer care in Barrie and surrounding areas by helping to build a new regional cancer centre and investing in a state-of-the-art portable radiation unit, announced Premier Dalton McGuinty.
"When one of your loved ones is fighting cancer, nothing else matters but getting the best care for them," said Premier McGuinty. "The steps we're taking today mean that more patients here in the Barrie area will get the critical care they need faster and more families will have new hope for a better quality of life."
Premier McGuinty made his remarks at the Royal Victoria Hospital, where he announced that the government is speeding up access to cancer care by supporting the building of the Simcoe-Muskoka Regional Cancer Centre at the hospital.
Construction is expected to begin in 2008. Once the expansion is complete, the centre will provide a full range of services, including chemotherapy, radiation and surgical oncology care to people in the region. The redevelopment also includes two new operating rooms, more hospital beds and expanded emergency and ambulatory care services.
To ensure faster care while the hospital is being upgraded, the government is also investing $4.5 million for a new portable radiation unit. Starting this fall, the unit will help reduce wait times for radiation therapy by serving up to 400 patients per year. As a result, more patients will benefit from treatment sooner.
"Barrie stands as a primary example of our message in health care -- that the best health care you can find is the health care that you find as close to home as possible," said Minister of Health and Long-Term Care George Smitherman.
"The portable radiation unit is an innovative solution to provide hundreds of Barrie-area patients with access to high quality, timely radiation therapy close to home," said Terrence Sullivan, President and CEO of Cancer Care Ontario. "The addition of this unit will also give the province greater capacity to continue reducing wait times while the Simcoe-Muskoka Regional Cancer Centre is being built."
Expanding cancer care is the latest way the McGuinty government is working with Barrie residents to achieve health care results. Other initiatives include:
- Creating three new Family Health Teams to provide care to local families
- Investing in 583 new and redeveloped long-term care beds in North Simcoe-Muskoka communities such as Barrie, Orillia and Bracebridge
- Speeding up access to care by funding about 22,600 more medical procedures in five key areas (cancer surgery, cardiac procedures, hip and knee replacements, cataract surgery and CT and MRI scans) in Barrie.
"We've been working with our health care partners, and together, we've come a long way," said Premier McGuinty. "We can't go back -- not after everything we've achieved. Working together, we can continue to strengthen health care and build a brighter, more hopeful future for Barrie families."