Doctor says new cancer centre good for patients
Health: Province proposes new facility for Calgary
By: Don Patterson
| Posted: Wednesday, Mar 06, 2013 01:43 pm
The increased capacity and state of the art facilities proposed for a new cancer centre in Calgary will benefit foothills patients, said a Black Diamond doctor.
The provincial government announced last week it will build a new cancer care centre on the grounds of the Foothills Hospital to replace the existing Tom Baker Cancer Centre, which has been at capacity for almost 10 years.
It will be a comprehensive facility to provide treatment as well as being a research and education centre.
Black Diamond Dr. Noel Grisdale said the cancer project is the right thing for the Province to do, despite its financial difficulties.
“I think it only helps for cancer care for patients,” he said.
Grisdale said it’s tough to measure the impact limited capacity at the Tom Baker centre has had on service. However, he said people working at the facility have done a great job of keeping it operating well above capacity.
“They’re the ones that have been keeping things going at such a high quality,” he said.
Construction on the proposed centre is expected to begin sometime in 2015 or 2016.
Bart Johnson, spokesperson for Alberta Health Minister Fred Horne, said it will increase capacity for cancer treatment in Calgary and southern Alberta.
“It is basically going to examine all phases of cancer right from diagnosis, through treatment, through radiation, right up until it’s cured or a patient has to go to palliative care,” he said.
The centre is expected to cost close to $1 billion, but the final price tag hasn’t been determined.
“That will depend on the planning and design work, it will depend on the functional programming and it will depend on the approach the government takes to financing it as well,” Johnson said.
He said the government began working on the facility and set aside $181 million for a new ambulatory care facility that will be part of the new centre. The Alberta Cancer Foundation has also committed $200 million to the project.
The new facility won’t have any impact on treatment currently provided at the High River Hospital’s cancer clinic.
Paul Grundy, AHS senior vice-president and senior director for cancer care, said the High River clinic will continue to provide chemotherapy treatment that can be safely delivered at the smaller rural hospital, as well as patient education, support and follow up care.
“We have some chemotherapies that can be prescribed out of Calgary, in this example, but can be safely delivered with nurses and a local physician,” he said.
Johnson said patients from foothills communities will be able to go to the new cancer centre in Calgary for initial consultations, radiation therapy and prescriptions for treatment.
He said the model for cancer care in Alberta calls for two comprehensive centres, with one in Edmonton and a second in Calgary, and four associate centres including Red Deer, Grande Prairie, Medicine Hat and Lethbridge.
There are also 11 community clinics in smaller communities around Alberta, including the High River centre. While he said he sees a need for additional community centres in the future, Johnson said there are no plans to build any at this time.
Johnson said the community centres allow patients to receive much of their treatment, whenever possible, close to home. The centre has nurses and a physician who monitors treatment for patients in the area and doesn’t diagnose or prescribe treatment options.This last statement is confusing. The physician doesn’t diagnose or treat? Reword.