'Yes, we are going to do it': Marshall confirms radiation unit for hospital

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Cory Hurley
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Tom Marshall. — Photo by James McLeod/The Telegram

Radiation therapy in the future western regional hospital has now by given the green light by the provincial government.

Premier Tom Marshall gave his word on the addition to Western Health Friday, following the West Coast Health Care Action Committee’s meeting the night prior in Corner Brook.

“Yes, we are going to do it,” Marshall said Friday. “We are going to put radiation here.”

This week, the Liberals and Leader Dwight Ball committed to the radiation unit — coinciding with their prior commitment to bringing a positron emission tomography (PET) scanner to the facility — if elected.

Frank Coleman, the future leader of the Progressive Conservative Party and premier of the province, also made that commitment at Thursday’s meeting.

Marshall had been offering his support to the lobbying efforts, but would not commit to doing so until he fully researched it. There was $500,000 allotted in Budget 2014 for the study of safe radiation service delivery in western Newfoundland.

The only question left is whether there will be one radiation machine or two, the premier said. He reiterated that the province had been following the national model whereby chemotherapy and surgeries for cancer treatment could be done regionally, but radiation was situated in the main population centre.

Nationally, each radiation unit has two machines, said Marshall, with the exception of two in Ontario — Sault. Ste. Marie and Peterborough. He said those sites, and their use of one radiation machine, are still being evaluated.

Marshall said the numbers he has been provided support one machine for western Newfoundland. While he has been told by health care professionals that a therapy program can operate with one machine, those sources come from programs where there are two machines.

Marshall also said his concern about attracting the necessary health care professionals for the unit has been negated.

Coleman also said Thursday that the hospital has to be built right away. Marshall said no one has been trying to do that more than him, but the process is a slow one.

“I would say I have driven people crazy trying to find ways that we can speed it up,” Marshall said.

While he has been frustrated with the time the functional process has taken, he said the team responsible is satisfied that it is being done correctly and bringing the services that are needed for the region.

He said there will be some site work done this summer, including electrical, water and sewer. The following year, the construction on two of the hospital buildings will begin, with building of the main facility to begin in 2016.

He laughed when asked just how long it will take, but did not give a concrete timeline.

“Some people have been throwing around eight years,” he said. “I really don’t think it will take that long.”

Organizations: West Coast Health Care Action Committee, Conservative Party

Geographic location: Newfoundland.The

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Recent comments

  • Doubting Thomas
    April 30, 2014 - 12:37

    It's a hard way to go about things, can't get nothing done unless the other is trying to show you up!!! It's a great thing as we need the new hospital ASAP!!! And a radiation unit would benefit a lot of people! It just goes to show us all what we got to work with in order to get things done around here!! I'll believe it when I see it!!

  • Ridiculous
    April 27, 2014 - 18:05

    Well,well.! All the Liberals saying this was not political. Funny they all knew about Mr. Granter's family member being seriously ill for the last four months and not one of them made any mention when people asked where he was? Not political. What a joke.

  • Really Now
    April 26, 2014 - 16:48

    Isn't it interesting. Not on Tory committed to this. It went from No Radiation, to no Radiation now, maybe later, to There's justification probably for a single unit, to a $500K study and now, yes, we're doing and it might be 2 units. There's no questioning that these PC politicians are feeling the crunch and recognize their backs are to the wall on this. Having them come out now after the Liberals gave a firm commitment demonstrates they're nervousness & their lack of understanding of how poorly they are doing. Vaughn Granter got booed in the meeting when his letter was read. Coleman will be lucky if he wins the seat. They are desperate and if the 19 other hospital announcements don't convince the people otherwise, they're delusional. Marshall never had any intentions on delivering on the hospital. Granter jumped on the train so he wouldn't get run over. Coleman is simply trying to win a seat.

  • PC but feeling blue
    April 26, 2014 - 14:16

    Minister Marshall I am so disappointed in you, happy with the announcement regarding the hospital, but shocked with your game playing. For years, we hear nothing from you or Mr. Granter; we only hear from Mrs. Sullivan, the Health minister! and the numbers she could bring up to indicate that radiation services are not feasible for here. Now with the party in trouble, you do an about face on everything. The hospital switcheroo, Bill 29, the about face on justice cuts. I am not up for sale! And to hear Mr. Coleman saying he wants to continue with the government's amazing track record. Disappointed and disillusioned.

  • dave sharpe
    April 26, 2014 - 12:25

    I have to agree with the first comment. So after hearing the Liberals commit to it now he has seen the light, please. All we have gotten from the PC party is years of broken promises on this issue. An election is coming up and now they say OK we need a radiation unit, completely laughable and see through. They would have more credence at this point by just shutting up and actually doing something. Only they seem to have forgotten how to do anything other than make empty promises. They have become exceedingly good at that.

  • peter barry
    April 26, 2014 - 12:18

    little to late mr marshall with your so called promises.

  • Laughable
    April 25, 2014 - 18:15

    This guy put me in mind of watching a bad rerun, you fool me once, that has far as you may go Mr Tom Marshall. You also told the people there would be steel in the ground before you retired, Yes sir your a man of your word. .Now you expect us to believe Frank Coleman. You much think we are really out to lunch. Pack your bags and hit the road.

    • John Q
      April 26, 2014 - 08:10

      I tend to agree. Politics are pathetic in this province right now. Higher electrical bills on the horizon, yearly additional garbage disposal fees, higher property taxes, governments advocating lower retirement incomes due to pension reform. Seems like every where you turn these days federal and provincial government are there to diminish your existence. What a shame?