A milestone in the history of healthcare in Sarnia-Lambton was celebrated Wednesday (September 28) with the official opening of Bluewater Health's new Cancer Care Assessment & Treatment Centre. The centre will improve access to care for people with cancer in Southwestern Ontario and is estimated to treat 1,500 patients a year.
"The opening of our new Cancer Care Assessment & Treatment Centre brings with it a coordinated focus on timely assessment and treatment, patient and family support, education and assistance for those moving through the cancer care journey," said Vicki Lucas, Business Director of Surgery, Rehabilitation, Ambulatory Care and Oncology at Bluewater Health. "Our goal is to improve the patient experience, provide more care close to home, shorten cancer surgery wait times, and better coordinate care."
Sue Denomy, President and CEO of Bluewater Health, said,"We are committed to a high quality, coordinated system of care, and to building a strong, vibrant cancer care program at Bluewater Health. The hospital's cancer program transformation project was two years in development. As part of the process we engaged patients, families, physicians and partners —their views are present in our plan."
A major focus for cancer care improvement at Bluewater Health is to streamline the time from when cancer is first suspected to diagnosis and from assessment to treatment. Where it once could take months, we are significantly shortening this period of uncertainty for better patient care. Improving access to a better, more efficient and rapid cancer diagnosis is a necessary component of a high quality cancer care system. The centre's model of care is also aligned with Cancer Care Ontario's vision and the direction for cancer services in the province.
On behalf of Cancer Care Ontario, Elaine Meertens, Acting Director of Cancer Planning and Regional Program Development, said, "Cancer Care Ontario supports the commitment that Bluewater Health has made to improving quality and access to cancer services. This centre will help ensure that the people of Sarnia and the surrounding area will be able to receive cancer care closer to home."
On behalf of the Erie St. Clair Regional Cancer Program, Claudia den Boer, Regional Vice President, said, "The commitment of Bluewater Health to building a strong, vibrant cancer program in their community along with their participation as an active partner in the broader Erie St. Clair Regional Cancer Program is exemplary."
Support for the centre began in March 2009, when the Board of Directors of Bluewater Health requested a thorough review of local cancer care services to ensure that the organization was positioned to provide exemplary cancer care for the residents of Sarnia-Lambton.
";As a Board, we identified an opportunity to improve cancer care coordination and service," said David Campbell, Vice Chair of Bluewater Health's Board of Directors. "Working with a multi-disciplinary team of healthcare providers, partners and regional programs, a Cancer Care Steering Committee reviewed all aspects of cancer care from prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment and end of life care. Based on the work of this committee, the Board endorsed their strategic direction to develop a comprehensive cancer care program at Bluewater Health."
Photo: Karen Gibson, a patient who spoke of her personal experience with cancer and services available at Bluewater Health.