Lifesaving radiotherapy equipment arrives in Rockhampton

27 January 2016
Lifesaving radiotherapy equipment arrives in Rockhampton

Central Queenslanders are a major step closer to having access to local radiation oncology services thanks to the delivery of two hi-tech linear accelerators this week.

The machines, worth $4.5m, are being unloaded and installed at the Central Queensland Integrated Cancer Service at Rockhampton Hospital.

Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service Chief Executive Len Richards said this was a major step forward for the new service, which will be operational by May this year following an extensive period of installation, testing and commissioning.

“The delivery of this life-saving equipment is really the cherry on the top of the cake for us in terms of cancer care services,” he said.

“We have engaged expert cancer firm Genesis Cancer Care to get this new service up and running and the delivery of equipment is an exciting leap forward.”

Genesis Cancer Care Queensland General Manager Kristin Carney said the Elekta Versa HD Linear Accelerators would deliver advanced cancer treatment for the full spectrum of conventional radiotherapy techniques.

“We could not be more pleased with the opportunity to work with CQ Health and the State Government to develop an outstanding local service for patients so they no longer need to travel to Brisbane for essential radiation therapy treatment,” Ms Carney said.

“Our model of care includes the latest treatment protocols, the most advanced technology, and highly skilled staff to deliver quality outcomes for our patients.”

Ms Carney said the state-of-the-art units weighed some 6 tonnes and had reduced energy consumption by 30% on previous models.

Mr Richards said while the delivery of the linear accelerators was a key milestone in the provision of local cancer services, CQ Health had also been working hard to recruit local medical specialists, with a second full-time clinical haematologist (blood cancer specialist) starting work in Rockhampton last month.

“Dr Mohamed Shanavas comes to Rockhampton directly from working in Toronto Canada at one of the top five cancer institutes in the world.

“This appointment means we now have four full-time cancer specialists on board, including two clinical haematologists and two medical oncologists,” Mr Richards said.

“The development of a local cancer service is something we’ve been working on for several years and we’re so close to the fruition of that hard work now and we couldn’t be more excited. It really will change lives for the better.”