Expanded Cancer Care in St. Thomas

Friday, April 19, 2013

In what is being hailed as a key stepping stone in the provision of cancer treatment at a time when patients are feeling “most vulnerable,” residents of St. Thomas and Elgin will now benefit from quality care closer to home.

At a ceremony Thursday in the new ambulatory care centre at St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital, a bright yellow ribbon was cut to celebrate the expansion and new location of the chemotherapy program.

The bright and airy chemotherapy suite is housed in the A Wing of the revamped ambulatory care centre for outpatient services in the former Continuing Care Centre wing which was designed to improve visitor flow by clustering a number of patient services.

“The expanded chemotherapy program will play a critical role in the provision of cancer care for the residents of St. Thomas and Elgin County,” advised Brenda Fleming, Director at the South West Regional Cancer Program. “What that means is more patients from this area will have the option of having their cancer treatment closer to home, avoiding the trip to London.”

Cancer care closer to home not only provides comfort and support for patients, it does reduce that distance -- however small that distance may be - and that is very important to patients at a time when they are feeling most vulnerable.

Fleming praised the commitment and hard work of everyone involved in the program at STEGH, which will result “in better cancer services for the residents of St. Thomas and Elgin County.

“I must say as a resident of St. Thomas myself, I am especially proud of the service the St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital is able to offer to the community and as a consumer that is very important to myself and my family.”

Speaking via video, Neil Johnson, Regional Vice-President at the South West Regional Cancer Program, noted the move to ambulatory care will allow the service to be expanded from one day a week to 3.5 days a week and that will result in the ability to accommodate almost 2,000 patient visits a year in St. Thomas.

“That allows care closer to home and care by trusted individuals in their own community,” Johnson pointed out. “Care closer to home with people who are caring and compassionate makes a big difference. This is a key stepping stone and an important next step for all of our patients, both in the South West and in St. Thomas.”

Ambulatory Centre manager Terry Hiddink explained they are able to provide service two days a week based on current staffing.

“Going to 3.5 days a week seems like an attainable goal and likely sooner rather than later.”

Photo – The ribbon cutting makes it official. From left: Brenda Fleming (Director, South West Regional Cancer Program), Paul Collins (President & CEO, St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital), Terry Hiddink (Manager, Ambulatory Care, St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital), Paul Bode (Board Chair, St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital)
Click here to view the original article posted in the St. Thomas Times Journal, April 19, 2013.