Join campaign for radiotherapy unit

BALLINA Shire residents can on August 30 join the regional campaign to fast-track the construction of Lismore Base Hospital's planned cancer care and radiotherapy unit.

The pubic meeting has been organised by Regional Community Watch to force the State Government to start Stage 2 of the redevelopment of Lismore Base Hospital in the first quarter of 2008.

The NSW Government has said it would build the new unit in this term of government, but won't commit to a starting date.

Marshall Fittler, the president of Regional Community Watch, is left asking how many people will die before the unit is build.

He estimated about 800 people each year have to travel to Brisbane or the Gold Coast from their Northern Rivers homes for cancer treatment. Public patients have to travel to Brisbane while private patients can be treated on the Gold Coast.

But, frighteningly, he said there was a small percentage of those people who chose to forego treatment rather than subject themselves to the trauma of leaving their homes with family and friends and the suffering caused by the travel to Queensland hospitals.

"Due to the cancer that a lot of people have, they are unable to face the added trauma and drama," he said. "They forego the opportunity of extending their life or being cured of cancer altogether.

"That's a tragedy in itself. "How many people are going to die prematurely? "That should be of very serious concern to the NSW State Government."

The radiotherapy unit was originally scheduled to be built in 2008 at an estimated cost of $16m a cost which Marshall says would have blown out. The meeting will be held in the Richmond Room, behind Ballina library, at 7pm.

For more information, phone Marshall on 0411 840797.


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