New oncology unit cuts travel stress for patients

Cancer patients from as far as Horsham have been receiving treatment in the new oncology unit at Stawell Hospital's state-of-the-art Community Rehabilitation Centre.

The $3.9 million modern facility was finished late last year and welcomed its new oncology and rehabilitation patients on January 7.

The building features consulting rooms and multi-disciplinary gym and oncology unit with sweeping views of the Grampians.

Oncology patients have been treated at the centre by visiting specialists from Ballarat Health, Dr Stephen Brown, Dr John Sycamnias and Professor George Kannourakis.

Stawell Regional Health chief executive officer, Rohan Fitzgerald said the organisation was thrilled that construction finished on schedule and the outcome was 'magnificent'.

"The facility is very impressive for a regional town and we're so pleased to now be providing patients from all over the Wimmera top health care in a modern, comfortable environment," Mr Fitzgerald said.

"Our oncology and allied health staff have settled in well and everything seems to be running smoothly."

Horsham farmer Bert Sprague has been visiting the oncology unit since the day it opened. He visits once a week for three weeks of the month for treatment for pancreatic cancer.

"I'm expected to require treatment for about five months, so coming to Stawell is a lot easier than travelling weekly to Ballarat," Mr Sprague said.

"The facilities are excellent and the view is great. It's also quiet and peaceful."

A patient coming regularly to Stawell from Minyip with his wife agreed that travelling to Ballarat 'wiped out a day', whereas going to Stawell meant that they weren't battling traffic and were home sooner.

Funded by the Federal Government, the CRC is also supported by $180,000 from the State Government, $120,000 raised by local shearer Aaron Hemley and several donations by community groups and clubs.

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