Cancer clinic addition included in health spending

Tuesday’s provincial budget confirmed that Red Deer’s cancer clinic will still get an addition to add three radiation treatments rooms.

Tuesday’s provincial budget confirmed that Red Deer’s cancer clinic will still get an addition to add three radiation treatments rooms.

The $57.8 million project was among 50 projects that will proceed in Alberta Health and Wellness’ 2009-12 capital plan.

Unfortunately, eight projects were deferred for further review including a $10-million continuing care upgrade and new dementia cottage for Lacombe Hospital Care Centre and a new long-term care facility in Didsbury where long-term care beds are currently located in the Didsbury hospital.

The Red Deer project was originally approved by government in December 2007 and the Lacombe and Didsbury projects were approved in January 2008.

Mark Kastner, spokesperson with Alberta Health Services, said projects that were deferred are deferred indefinitely.

“What that means is the president and CEO has determined he will have a review committee that will now take these capital project allocations and take a look at them to determine whether they fit into our operational plan or whether they need to be reviewed,” Kastner said on Wednesday.

The committee will make recommendations to the Alberta Health Services Board by the end of the calendar year, he said.

Earlier this year, architectural plans were under development to add radiation treatment to Central Alberta Cancer Clinic, located on the west side of Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre. Construction is expected to begin spring 2010.

Currently, radiation patients in Central Alberta must travel to either the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary or the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton.

Providing radiation in Red Deer is part of a provincial effort to assist cancer patients by reducing the travel time, expense and discomfort for patients and keep them closer to friends and family.

Radiation has just become available in Lethbridge and will be available in Grande Prairie in the future.

About 80 per cent of radiation therapy for patients outside Edmonton and Calgary will eventually be delivered in Red Deer, Lethbridge and Grande Prairie.

Travel to Calgary or Edmonton may still be required for complex cases.

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