Strengthening Cancer Care For Barrie Families



    New Regional Cancer Centre And Portable Radiation Unit Will Help Patients
    Get Faster Care, Closer To Home

    BARRIE, ON, Aug. 20 /CNW/ - The Ontario government is improving cancer
care in Barrie and surrounding areas by helping to build a new regional cancer
centre and investing in a state-of-the-art portable radiation unit, announced
Premier Dalton McGuinty.
    "When one of your loved ones is fighting cancer, nothing else matters but
getting the best care for them," said Premier McGuinty. "The steps we're
taking today mean that more patients here in the Barrie area will get the
critical care they need faster and more families will have new hope for a
better quality of life."
    Premier McGuinty made his remarks at the Royal Victoria Hospital, where
he announced that the government is speeding up access to cancer care by
supporting the building of the Simcoe-Muskoka Regional Cancer Centre at the
hospital.
    Construction is expected to begin in 2008. Once the expansion is
complete, the centre will provide a full range of services, including
chemotherapy, radiation and surgical oncology care to people in the region.
The redevelopment also includes two new operating rooms, more hospital beds
and expanded emergency and ambulatory care services.
    To ensure faster care while the hospital is being upgraded, the
government is also investing $4.5 million for a new portable radiation unit.
Starting this fall, the unit will help reduce wait times for radiation therapy
by serving up to 400 patients per year. As a result, more patients will
benefit from treatment sooner.
    "Barrie stands as a primary example of our message in health care - that
the best health care you can find is the health care that you find as close to
home as possible," said Minister of Health and Long-Term Care George
Smitherman.
    "The portable radiation unit is an innovative solution to provide
hundreds of Barrie-area patients with access to high quality, timely radiation
therapy close to home," said Terrence Sullivan, President and CEO of Cancer
Care Ontario. "The addition of this unit will also give the province greater
capacity to continue reducing wait times while the Simcoe-Muskoka Regional
Cancer Centre is being built."
    Expanding cancer care is the latest way the McGuinty government is
working with Barrie residents to achieve health care results. Other
initiatives include:

    
    -  Creating three new Family Health Teams to provide care to local
       families
    -  Investing in 583 new and redeveloped long-term care beds in North
       Simcoe-Muskoka communities such as Barrie, Orillia and Bracebridge
    -  Speeding up access to care by funding about 22,600 more medical
       procedures in five key areas (cancer surgery, cardiac procedures, hip
       and knee replacements, cataract surgery and CT and MRI scans) in
       Barrie.

    "We've been working with our health care partners, and together, we've
come a long way," said Premier McGuinty. "We can't go back - not after
everything we've achieved. Working together, we can continue to strengthen
health care and build a brighter, more hopeful future for Barrie families."

    Disponible en français

                           www.ontario.ca/premier
                               www.fairness.ca
    





For further information:

For further information: Premier's Media Office, (416) 314-8975

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