THE Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre (BRICC) has doubled in staff since it opened.
Celebrating its first anniversary last Friday, BRICC director Steve Medwell said there were now between 90 and 100 staff working in radiation and medical oncology (chemotherapy).
“We’ve also appointed new specialists and new doctors for both radiation and medical oncology,” Mr Medwell said.
“The service is about improving outcomes for patients in the region.
“We’re also providing treatment for patients close to home so if they do have to travel, then they have good accommodation facilities so people feel like they’re still in the country.
“It’s a big part of the peace of mind.”
Mr Medwell said BRICC was unique in country Victoria, because it was a real community cancer centre, offering chemotherapy, radiation, a pharmacy and a wellness centre.
“This has been a real opportunity to build a centre that we’re proud of and that the community can be proud of,” he said. “Public or private, we don’t differentiate. We want to build a vision of patient care.”
Mr Medwell said that since last September, BRICC was doing about 225 episodes of care per month in the chemotherapy unit, including chemotherapy treatment, blood transfusions and bone marrow biopsies.
He said the nine chemotherapy chairs were always used, with plans to move to 12 soon.
Since April, there have also been between 650 and 700 courses of radiotherapy.
“We want to say the outcomes from cancer treatment are improving,” Mr Medwell said.
Ballarat MP Catherine King said BRICC was the “jewel in the crown of the local hospital network”.
“Patients across our region are receiving the care and support they need locally, removing the need for many to travel to Melbourne or elsewhere for specialist treatment,” Ms King said.
Ballarat West MP Sharon Knight also paid tribute to her predecessor, the late Karen Overington, describing her as a “tireless campaigner for BRICC”.