Christchurch Scoop

Promise to Northland Fulfilled and Celebrated

Press Release – Northland DHB

October 31 2014

Promise to Northland Fulfilled and Celebrated

Raising three million in three years to build a local cancer treatment unit sounded nigh on impossible when first suggested but Northland has done it and the public are invited to celebrate this Saturday at its open day.

The Jim Carney Cancer Treatment Centre was completed in September and will be functioning from November 17. It is the result of collaboration between Northland DHB and the community, led by The Northland Community Foundation.

Based at Whangarei Hospital, the building, which began in February this year, is purpose-built to replace the cramped and inadequate facilities for cancer treatment, currently housed in the hospital building. The new centre will provide significantly more space, privacy, multi-disciplinary meeting areas, designated areas for children’s treatment and room to grow for the future.

Says Oncology clinical nurse manager Maggie Prentice: “We have been excitedly watching the building progress from our window all year and the end result is just great. There is so much more space for patients, whanau and staff alike. Patients are looking forward to the move. To have treatment in a purpose-built building with opportunities for their journey is a little easier.”

She says over 15 staff will be based at the unit with others coming and going.

The Jim Carney Cancer Treatment Centre, named after a prominent Whangarei businessman and philanthropist who died in November 2000, is the result of a vision five years ago. That vision, driven by two key people: Jack Broome and Karen Roach, became Project Promise, which was subsequently supported by many hundreds of Northlanders involved in a huge variety of fundraising events and activities. Together they raised over $3 million towards the $5 million project (Northland DHB funded the other $2 million) to make the cancer centre “promise” come true.

The Carney family trust made a generous donation and have backed the project from day one. Mr Carney’s widow Mary says the end result is a great achievement by the people of Northland who have contributed in many ways to make the building a reality.

“This Unit will benefit Northland families with regards to treatment. I am very pleased to be part of this project and I know Jim would have been very enthusiastic about it too.”

NCF chairman Richard Ayton says, despite hitting a rough patch halfway during fundraising, due to the global financial downturn and the Canterbury earthquakes, after a final push to reach the $3 million target, they were able to announce the conclusion of a successful campaign.

“It’s pleasing to see the end result of everyone’s hard work.”

Northland DHB chief executive Nick Chamberlain says, over the past few years there has been a huge growth (a tripling) in demand for cancer services in Northland. Hundreds of cancer patients each year will receive over 6000 treatments and appointments in the new centre.

“The community support has been astounding and I couldn’t help getting swept up in the energy and positivity of this project myself. There are so many people to thank, it isn’t feasible to do it personally – but every contribution of time, money, fundraising, goods or services is gratefully and thankfully acknowledged.”

An invitation-only opening ceremony of the Jim Carney Cancer Unit will be held Friday November 7, which will be attended by the Minister of Health. On Saturday 8 an open day at the centre begins at 10am – 3pm and will include guided tours, a bouncy castle, face painting, sausage sizzle, tasty treats and healthy living promotions.

Fact Box:

• Cancer is a major health issue for New Zealanders. One in three New Zealanders will have some experience of cancer, either personally or through a relative or friend;

• Cancer is the country’s leading cause of death (28.9 percent) and a major cause of hospitalisation;

• The unit will provide day-stay treatment for cancer patients, including initial consultations, chemotherapy treatments and follow-up from a team of medical experts, including other related nursing and support services. This means when a person is diagnosed with cancer, they and their family will have access to all the information and support they need. And the treatment centre has been designed to allow for this future expansion if more space is needed in future.

• Adults who need radiation treatment or those with complex cases requiring specialist care will still need to travel to Auckland and children may still receive most of their treatment at Starship Children’s Hospital, which has a specialised child cancer unit.

• Mr Carney was best-known in Whangarei for his role in the construction of Refining NZ’s Marsden Point Oil Refinery, as a long-standing and influential member of the former Northland Harbour Board, for his nine-year stint as a Whangarei City Councillor, and for his charitable work that included contributions as vice-president of the Crippled Children’s’ Association and as chairman of the St Mary’s Hospital management committee.

• At over twice the size of the current oncology space, the 741 meter square new cancer centre, situated on Hospital Rd across from the main hospital has: nine curtained treatment chair spaces and five consultation rooms with beds; a dedicated child and youth area, including a waiting room, consultation room and treatment room; a meeting room so that family meetings/whanau conferences, group meetings, workshops with cancer nurses and other meetings can be held onsite. The 895 meter square basement area has been designed to allow for future expansion if more space is ever needed.


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