Solaris Cancer Care’s Great Southern centre has closed abruptly after the organisation received notice that the Albany Health Campus was not able to accommodate it post-COVID.
“We closed our centre on March 18 2020 to assure our cancer patients’ safety in response to a growing number of COVID-19 cases that occurred,” Solaris Cancer Care Founder Dr. David Joske said.
“We had hoped that we would be able to resume our normal services in October. However, we received the unfortunate news the hospital didn’t have room due to increased funding for new staff.
“Whilst we are delighted, of course, that mainstream cancer treatment staffing and resources are being expanded in the Great Southern region, unfortunately this has left us homeless at the moment. A search for new premises is underway.”
Solaris’s Great Southern centre’s service delivery was 648 to the end of November, a sharp drop compared to last year’s delivery of 2,181 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and loss of hospital facility.
“The reduced capacity makes it difficult for us to attract and retain our outstanding complementary integrative therapists. We are deeply concerned we won’t be able to provide services for our current clients and into the future,” said Dr. Joske.
Temporarily relocated to Albany Hospice, the centre can provide services to only one patient at a time. Regular patients have indicated their reluctance to attend sessions in the hospice and are waiting for Solaris Cancer Care to establish a new centre in the region.
“I have Multiple Myeloma and I was helped greatly by Solaris Great Southern with its reiki, foot massage and meditation,” Solaris Great Southern patient Trish Travers said.
Ms. Travers has said she is no longer able to receive complementary therapies from Solaris because the service is temporarily located at the hospice.
“I would like these complementary therapies to resume. I really hope a new premise can be found, ideally co-located near or within the Albany Health Campus.”
Solaris Cancer Care is currently working collaboratively with the City of Albany, the real estate industry and Albany service clubs to identify a suitable accommodation. The organisation requires a new centre to have ground floor wheelchair access and appropriate zoning for consultation rooms.
“We greatly welcome any assistance from Albany residents in suggesting or pinpointing new accommodation,” said Dr. Joske.
Solaris Cancer Care, across all five centres in WA, has witnessed a 35 per cent increase in demand for its integrative cancer care services from the start of COVID-19.
“Our clients find it difficult to find respite among the multiple hospital appointments during their cancer journey in remote regions like Albany,” Solaris Cancer Care Great Southern Client Services Manager Gillian Robertson said.
“They come in to find some relaxation, receive support and feel connected,” she said.
Solaris Cancer Care delivers $1.2m in integrative cancer care services support yearly, through providing over 28,000 supportive care interventions every year to West Australian families undergoing cancer.
“We remain committed to ensuring our Great Southern centre acts as an oasis for our regional clients to receive support through their cancer journey. Our hope is to broaden our services upon determining new accommodation,” said Dr. Joske.
The not for profit organisation combines the best of modern medicine with evidence-based integrative supportive health care.
Adult cancer patients and their families can access complementary integrative cancer care services at
Solaris Cancer Care’s five centres including two regional centres located in Bunbury and Albany.