ARARAT - Cancer patients in the Wimmera and Central Grampians received the best possible Christmas present with the expansion of treatment services in Ararat.
Federal Member for Wannon, Dan Tehan was on hand to officially unveil the new Dialysis and Oncology Unit at East Grampians Health last week.
The redevelopment of the Dialysis, Chemotherapy and Physiotherapy Units was made possible by a $1.1 million grant from the Commonwealth Government under the Health and Hospital Fund Regional Priority Round.
The expansion has sought to improve access and reduce travel and associated costs to patients, improve quality of life, comply with Australasian Health Care Facility Guidelines for renal dialysis units, improve efficiency and effectiveness of the service, improve staff utilisation and work related wellbeing and improve clinical training capacity for renal nurses.
Mr Tehan said the expansion would assist with increased demand for cancer treatment in the region.
"As we know there are more challenges facing our health systems and there is a growing demand for Dialysis and Oncology treatments in our community, this is a tremendous outcome for Ararat and surrounding districts.
"The existing dialysis facility was only designed in 2004 to accommodate two chairs. Now we have a facility that has six chairs which will be much more functional for patients and staff, and will meet the extra demand for treatment."
Mr Tehan said patients will be the beneficiaries of the treatment facility that resting on level one at the hospital overlooks the town and surrounding scenery.
“It reminds us that this is all about the patients and we are working to make sure they have access to first class facilities and get the treatment they need in the most sophisticated way possible.
“Sadly the need for this is increasing and the pressure is on for this type of facility.
“This is also just another example of how well country communities get behind local projects and we’ve seen some great volunteer work along the way.”
East Grampians Health Service Board president, Louise Staley said the aim of the redevelopment was to take the Dialysis Unit from a four-chair facility near theatre on the ground floor to an integrated six-chair unit.
“The refurbishment of the new Dialysis Unit and Oncology has enabled the Health Service to expand services from four to six treatment chairs and with the capacity to expand the service in the future,” she said.
“Enabling provision of safe, contemporary, efficient and patient focused dialysis services for people living in the Wimmera and Central Grampians regions of Victoria.
“To respond to future increases in health population needs on Level 1 in the southern end - relocate
Chemotherapy to the southern end of the building and move Physiotherapy from Level 1 into the Community Health Centre.
“The expansion of dialysis services is making an enormous difference, creating more room and privacy for patients who require treatment.
“With an increase in the number of patients accessing the service, this has enabled more patients to receive treatment locally, rather than having to travel to Ballarat.”
East Grampians Health Service Chief Executive, Nick Bush thanked local community organisations who supported the redevelopment.