SUPERB, brilliant, wonderful and sensational were some of the words used by the first community group to tour the Shoalhaven Cancer Care Centre.
About 100 members of the local community who were part of the fund-raising efforts for the new $35 million centre were given a sneak peek inside the facility on Monday.
The Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Area Health District hosted a special morning tea at the centre to thank people for their contribution.
The morning tea coincided with a tour and explanation of some parts of the centre, including the chemotherapy area, the clinical suites for consultations and the accommodation block that local fund-raising paid $1.2 million to complete.
The tour did not include the area housing the linear accelerator as the radiation oncology medical physics team are continuing the process of testing and commissioning the machine.
The chemotherapy area gained rave reviews with its wall of glass that offers views of the Shoalhaven River.
The well-appointed accommodation lodge featuring 10 rooms, a communal living, cooking and dining area also impressed the tour parties.
Director of Cancer Services Anthony Arnold said the support from the community had been fantastic.
“The accommodation area, which this community has worked so hard towards is resort standard, it’s just superb,” he said.
He told the groups that there is still a lot of work going on at the centre, which is due to open later in the year.
“It is like getting a house to lock-up, that is one stage and there is still so much to be done,” he said.
“I know the community is very keen for the centre to open but we have to undertake all the necessary detailed testing.
Co-founder of the Linear Accelerator Appeal, Paul Dean said the centre is a wonderful facility.
“It is fantastic for so many members of the community who worked so hard for such a long time to finally see the centre,” he said.
The tour groups were told existing chemotherapy service and outpatient clinics currently being undertaken at the Shoalhaven Hospital are expected to transfer to the new centre next month with the new radiation therapy service to start later in the year once the machines are commissioned.
Recruitment is under way for the remaining staff required to operate the facility.
An official opening is planned for later this year with a community open day to be held once the centre is opened.