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Fuad: National Oncology Centre ready in 2014
The long-awaited National Oncology Centre (NOC) at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex (EWMSC) is expected be opened to the public in November 2014 at a cost of $663 million. This was announced yesterday by Health minister Dr Fuad Khan who was speaking at a breakfast meeting held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Port-of-Spain. Another $52 million is expected to be shelled out on equipment and other expenses, the minister said.
The Urban Development Corporation (Udecott) has been appointed as the project developer for construction, which is expected to last 18 months. Khan said Cabinet gave approval for work on the centre, which formed part of Government’s overall plan to deal with non-chronic communicable disease, which is a growing epidemic in the country.
Citing cancer as the second leading cause of death among adults, Khan said the ministry’s national cancer strategy and the centre would serve as the main treatment for cancer. “Two other specialist centres are also providing cancer treatment, including the existing National Radiotherapy Centre at the St James Medical Complex and a new national centre for non-communicable diseases which would be located in Penal,” Khan added.
The centre is expected to offer a sustainable, equitable, comprehensive, state-of-the art system of cancer control. The centre’s priority, the minister added, would be radiation oncology, along with a new focus on prevention and screening to reduce cancer incidence, quality assurance and a patient-centred system of treatment and palliation.
“A multi-disciplinary team approach would be utilised, from diagnosis to treatment to cure, under the central control of a specialist care team of oncologists, specialist physicians, surgeons, interventional radiologists, histopathologists, haematologists, palliative care and pain-management specialists, oncology pharmacists, oncology nurses, medical physicists, radiation therapists, dosimetrists and counsellors,” Khan said.
He said Government also proposed to include space for supportive care, teaching and research, patient counselling areas, volunteer support space, library services for information dissemination, telemedicine conferencing technology and teaching spaces as well as quiet areas and healing spaces.
The National Radiotherapy Centre at the St James Medical Complex in St James is the current flagship referral centre of oncology care in the public sector, the minister said. It provides a range of services including:
• radiation therapy
• CT-based treatment planning
• low-dose brachytherapy
• in-patient and out-patient chemotherapy
• palliative radiotherapy.
“We are in the process of upgrading the technology and services at this facility with the introduction of a linear accelerator with IMRT technology and HDR brachytherapy, which will bring this facility into the 21st century of cancer care,” Khan added.
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