Accommodation project to benefit regional cancer patients

Media Release

FN089/2017

08 June 2017

Joint release with:

Greg Hunt

Minister for Sport
Minister for Health

Trevor Evans

Federal Member for Brisbane

  • Charles Wanstall Apex Lodge upgrade is one step closer to a reality
  • 11 self-contained residential units to receive a much needed upgrade

Regional Queenslanders impacted by cancer are set to benefit from a $785,000 upgrade to the Charles Wanstall Apex Lodge at Herston in Brisbane.

Minister for Regional Development Fiona Nash said the Coalition Government continues to build on its record investment for regional Australia by providing vital health infrastructure.

“I aim to build the kinds of regional communities our children and grandchildren either want to stay in or come back to, and improving health support services and employment opportunities does just that,” Minister Nash said.

“This investment will provide essential support for regional Queenslanders travelling to Brisbane for cancer treatment, making life a little easier for patients and their families in what is often the most difficult of times.”

Minister for Health Greg Hunt and Federal Member for Brisbane Trevor Evans joined Cancer Council Queensland's CEO Chris McMillan in Herston today reinforcing the Australian Government's 2016 election commitment to provide funding for the upgrade.

Minister Hunt said the upgraded facility will provide modern accommodation for patients and their families and remove the additional financial burden of keeping families together during treatment.

“Each year the Charles Wanstall Apex Lodge accommodates about 1400 patients and their carers, also providing 1600 episodes of transport and 640 occasions of support,” Minister Hunt said

“This equates to about $1.8 million worth of accommodation provided to patients for no out-of-pocket costs, based on commercial accommodation rates.

“Around 27,000 Queenslanders are diagnosed with cancer every year, and about 8700 die from the disease.”

Mr Evans said the Charles Wanstall Apex Lodge is just one of six accommodation lodges operated statewide by Cancer Council Queensland, providing a potential 100,000 bed nights each year for cancer patients, carers and family at no out-of-pocket costs.

“Stage two of the project will include the modernisation of 11 of the remaining 29 self-contained residential units, a community room, administration office, and communal barbeque area,” Mr Evans said.

“A new business kiosk for residents, a community support/wig and turban library and new outdoor gazebo area will also be upgraded.”

Ms McMillan said the upgrade will help improve access to world-leading clinical and supportive care services, helping to prevent the estimated 350 regional cancer deaths each year in Queensland due to the city-country divide

“It has long been established in evidence that cancer patients living in outer regional areas are more likely to die within five years of a diagnosis than those living in cities,” Ms McMillan said.

“Our research estimates 13 per cent of all regional cancer deaths are preventable, with about 350 deaths avoidable each year if survival rates in the bush were equal to those in the city.

“This major Federal funding boost will allow us to upgrade the lodge and assist in addressing this disparity, not only for today but for future years.”

Works are scheduled to commence in October 2017 and be completed late 2018.

More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available at cancerqld.org.au or 13 11 20.