29 Oct 2013

HLCT Chairman's Report - October 2013

For the past three years the Hawkesbury Living Cancer Trust have been working extremely hard towards fundraising and advocating with State and Federal governments to deliver oncology and infusion services to both private and public patients in the Hawkesbury.

I write to you as Chairman of the Hawkesbury Living Cancer Trust,

For the past three years the Hawkesbury Living Cancer Trust have been working extremely hard towards fundraising and advocating with State and Federal governments to deliver oncology and infusion services to both private and public patients in the Hawkesbury.

Our original vision has always been to create a community hub in the region for cancer sufferers and survivors. The earliest iteration of this concept was officially approved by the Richmond Club Board of Directors in 2010, and with this the original start to the fundraising was coordinated under the charitable status of Hawkesbury Living, with $127,000 initially raised, mainly by the efforts of Dad and Dave’s Inaugural Race Day which brought together the local Turf Growers and associated companies to raise funds for the charity.

In early 2011, our efforts received a considerable boost as Len and Margaret Peel donated one million dollars to the Trust, which meant that the service would be provided to the Hawkesbury community sooner than expected.

After community engagement with Nepean Health was undertaken, the Trust decided to explore establishing a multidisciplinary Cancer service and Specialist Centre in the Old Hospital site at Windsor.  At this stage there had been a clear decision from Catholic Healthcare not to partake in the oncology operations. However the Trust wrote to the Minister and the NSW Premier to reinforce the need for these services to be offered locally.

The Old Hospital was viewed by the Trustees an ideal location, having ample space for a 6 bed unit, quality reception, medical suites, counselling suites, blood collection and an inpatient pharmacy. Furthermore, having additional space means we planned incorporate ancillary services such as a wig library, cancer council resources, and volunteer groups into the development.

By December 2012, a further $1million commitment from the Kable family capped off an outstanding year of community support for the Trust’s objectives. The $1 million pledge from the Kable family was anticipated to go directly towards fitting out the site as well as securing a 3 year oncology scholarship based at the site.   

The Trust proceeded with securing the services of an Architect and Quantity Surveyor and proceeded to DA and released tender documents for establishment of this facility.  

In 2013, to the surprise of the Trustees, Catholic Healthcare announced via the local media that they were going to establish an oncology unit in the existing Hawkesbury District Hospital.  

It became clear to the Trustees that the District did not need 2 Chemotherapy units, hence we had to abandon our tender process and our focus shifted to engaging with the Catholic Healthcare and subsequently working with the executive at Nepean, Blue Mountains Health District to ensure that the Chemotherapy Unit had our support. 

The Trust understands that the provision of chemotherapy is only one part of the overall wholistic care of a person with Cancer. We see much more that needs to be done to deliver services to people in the Hawkesbury District and as a board have agreed to a multiple stage plan to ensure as many services are provided as possible.  

I am pleased to confirm that Stage 1 of the Trust’s plan will be to use the charitable funds to pay for the fit out of the unit and provide the equipment that will be needed to run the unit. We have conditionally committed $350,000 to Nepean Blue Mountains Health District for this purpose.

The Trust sees Stage 2 as working with the area health service to assist in funding the provision of ancillary services for patients in the District such as Social Workers, Counsellors and other Allied Health Professionals.

Stage 3 of the Trust’s plan is to bring a Specialist Medical Oncologist to the District to consult, so patients have the option of their regular follow-up being conducted locally.

In line with the constitution that was approved by the Richmond Club Board the annual audited profit and loss and community update will always be in this report so the community can verify where their money has been dispersed.

I would like to thank my fellow Trustees for the many long hours they have all dedicated to this project and the enthusiasm with which they have been raising funds. There are so many people in the community who have donated money to the Trust and supported our aims.

The Richmond Club Executive and Board continue to be generous supporters of the Trust and I would like to thank the Group CEO Kimberley Talbot and Board Chairman Geoff Luscombe in particular for their support.

The Trust was established to bring oncology services to the Hawkesbury District. We are very pleased that our efforts and the wishes of the community have acknowledged and that a long overdue Chemotherapy Service will be operating at the Hawkesbury District Hospital early next year.

 

Kind Regards,

 

Duncan Guy.