KAMLOOPS, B.C. — The British Columbia government is preparing to build a new cancer care centre in Kamloops.
The new centre at the Royal Inland Hospital will include radiation therapy, meaning patients will no longer have to travel the roughly two-hour trip south to Kelowna for that treatment, Health Minister Adrian Dix said Thursday.
"In order to build a robust public health-care system, we are addressing a lack of health-care investments in communities across the province and, in this case, the need to distribute cancer care around the province," he said.
The announcement comes more than a week after Dix announced up to 50 B.C. cancer patients will be referred to two clinics in Washington every week in an effort to reduce wait times for radiation therapy.
Dix told the news conference Thursday that a "concept plan" for the new centre, which was promised as part of the 2020 election, has been approved and a business plan will be completed this calendar year.
Dr. Kim Chi, medical director of B.C. Cancer, said the new centre is expected to offer 14,000 treatment visits, as well as 6,600 radiation consultations and follow-up appointments in its first year.
Dix said he expects the building to be ready to see patients in 2027 and that cancer centres typically cost between $200 and $300 million.
He has previously said nearly 83 per cent of B.C. patients start radiation within 28 days from the date they're ready for the treatment,which doesn't meet the clinical benchmarks the province has set as a goal.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 25, 2023
The Canadian Press