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October 7, 2009
For immediate release
Expansion of PEI Cancer Treatment Centre Complete
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The addition to the PEI Cancer Treatment Centre is the second part of the first phase of redevelopment at the QEH. The expansion was necessary in order to accommodate a second linear accelerator, which will help ensure radiation wait times meet the National Wait Time Guarantee, as well as maintain the continuity of radiation treatment services when one linear accelerator is shut down for maintenance. The purchase of the new linear accelerator was made possible, in part, through the Patient Wait Time Agreement Trust.
“This is an exciting time for the staff and patients of the PEI Cancer Treatment Centre,” said Premier Ghiz. “Our government has continually recognized health care as our number one priority and we’re committed to improving health care for all Islanders. The expansion of this facility will not only accommodate a new linear accelerator, but will also provide the appropriate workspace for physicians and staff to work together with other healthcare professionals to provide quality oncology treatment services to patients.”
“We congratulate PEI on the expansion of their Cancer Treatment Centre,” said Minister Aglukkaq, federal Minister of Health. “This expanded facility will provide Islanders with enhanced access to radiation therapy, cutting wait times and providing patients with the quality health care they need, when they need it. I am pleased that, in addition to funding from the Guarantee Trust that helped make this expansion possible, in May 2008, the Government of Canada approved $1.4 million through the Patient Wait Times Guarantee Pilot Project Fund for the Saving Time & Saving Lives project, a key component of PEI’s strategy to cut radiation therapy wait times. Today, we see the impact of those investments.”
“The need for radiation oncology services is on the rise as a result of the increasing incidence of cancer, increase in the use of radiation therapy in combination with chemotherapy, and changes occurring in radiation therapy technology,” said Minister of Health, Doug Currie. “The second linear accelerator will help ensure that all Islanders who need it will receive radiation therapy without worry of interruption to their treatment plan when machine maintenance is required.”
Before the new linear accelerator can be utilized for patient treatment, it must first go through a testing process, also known as commissioning. The commissioning process, which takes four to six months, involves detailed measurements of the machine characteristics that allows for the accurate planning and delivery of radiation treatment for a patient as prescribed by the radiation oncologist. The new linear accelerator is expected to be operational by February 2010.
“Once the new linear accelerator is up and running, we will be shutting down our current linear accelerator and upgrading it to have the same features as the new one,” explained Rick Adams, Executive Director for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. “We anticipate that both linear accelerators will be up and running by the end of April 2010.”