The Morrison Government announced an $81.5 million plan to better support Western Australians with cancer, mental health issues and chronic heart failure.
Out of $44 million to be invested in cancer care, $25.1 million is set aside to help implement a broad cancer care strategy across rural WA — that figure includes $9 million for new radiation oncology treatment services at Geraldton.
In addition, $19 million will be allocated for state wide genomic testing that will take the treatment of WA cancer patients to a new level — testing that will also benefit all WA patients diagnosed with cancer by using the patient’s DNA to personalise their cancer treatment plan.
This will enable earlier, more informed clinical decision-making, aligning patients with the best treatment for their disease from the start.
The WA Country Health Service (WACHS) Cancer Strategy will be the first WA-wide coordinated approach to providing specialist cancer services in rural communities.
It is aimed at overcoming the inequity of access for country cancer patients in WA, increasing survival and improving the quality of life for country people diagnosed with cancer.
The Government is also allotting $3.8 million to develop and implement models of multidisciplinary care in two WA locations — one metropolitan, one country— for patients living with chronic heart failure.
For mental health, the Government plans to invest $33.5 million in three initiatives to support Western Australians, including building a $14 million walk-in adult community mental health centre in North Perth.
This project will be funded through the Government’s $736 million mental health budget measure and is part of a $114.5 million trial of eight walk-in community centres around the country.
The centre will provide mental health support services, particularly in times of crisis, will be available to people without a prior appointment, and provide access to treatment, advice, and support provided by a range of mental health professionals at any time of the day or night.
An investment of $14.8 million will bring improved care to young West Australians and support in a new, dedicated 10-bed forensic mental health ward.
The funding is in addition to the Government’s $50 million investment in the Australian Genomics Cancer Medicine Program, which harnesses precision genomics technology to match patients with rare and untreatable cancers to tailored clinical trials, and the $500 million Medical Research Future Fund Genomics Health Futures Mission.
In April, the Government established a Ministerial Council that will advise the state on opportunities to further develop and support precision health advances.
Early priorities of the council will include identifying and enhancing successful precision health initiatives already operating in WA's health system, and determining key areas that could benefit from increased integration of precision health measures.