MEMBERS of the fund-raising committee for the $35 million Shoalhaven Cancer Care Centre will get a sneak peek at parts of the complex on Monday.
The Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District is hosting a special morning tea at the centre to thank local fund-raising groups for their contribution.
They will be among the first people to have a look at some aspects of the centre and associated accommodation block.
The morning tea will be held between 10.30am and 12.30pm.
Director of Cancer Services Anthony Arnold said the event was an opportunity to acknowledge their outstanding efforts and support for the centre.
“The dedication and hard work of many volunteers has seen an amazing $1 million plus raised toward the centre,” he said.
“These funds have been used to develop the 10-room patient and carer accommodation lodge and we’d like members to have the opportunity to see the progress of the centre ahead of its opening later this year.”
A second open day that had been scheduled for September 20 has been cancelled as staff continue to work towards commissioning the centre.
Work is progressing well but even though the outside security fences have been removed and the building been handed over to the health service, there is still a mountain of work inside being carried out, including some extremely intricate procedures.
“It is like getting a house to lock-up – that is one stage and there is still so much to be done and that is the case here,” he said.
“There is an enormous amount of work going on inside.”
Construction was completed and the building handed over in August for staff to start fitting out the centre, installing and testing medical devices and lifesaving equipment.
The radiation oncology medical physics team is continuing the detailed and very complex process of acceptance testing and commissioning of major equipment including the linear accelerator, superficial X-ray treatment unit, CT scanner and computerised treatment planning system.
“The fit-out is extensive and takes several months as it includes calibrating and testing of treatment devices and other equipment necessary to run the facility,” Mr Arnold said.
“Equipment commissioning is vital and ensures that the technology is implemented appropriately and safely before patient treatment can start.
“Our staff have been working incredibly hard over the past few months to ensure that we not only have an impressive looking building but a centre that delivers high-quality, safe and appropriate treatment and care to the community.”
The existing chemotherapy service and outpatient clinics are expected to transfer from the existing hospital next month and the new radiation therapy service will start later in the year after the existing services have transitioned.
Recruitment is now well under way for the remaining staff required to operate a facility of this size.
Various roles have recently been appointed, with some staff starting at the centre this week to contribute to the continued fit-out process.
“This facility is much anticipated and the community will have the opportunity to walk through the centre once all of the internal work is completed,” said Mr Arnold.
Mr Arnold said the Shoalhaven centre was state of the art.
“It is not a traditional medical looking building,” he said.
“The setting is superb, the outlook wonderful and the design unique,” he said.
“I know it has been a long battle to get such a facility here in the Shoalhaven and for me it has been special to be part of the whole process from obtaining funding through the building and now commissioning of the centre.”
An official opening is planned for later this year with a community open day to be held once the centre is opened.