Cancer patients across Central, Western, and Far West NSW who travel to Dubbo to receive treatment will be able to access affordable accommodation – or a home away from home – with the NSW Nationals in the state government announcing $2.5 million to deliver a purpose-built oncology accommodation precinct.
The announcement comes after the Federal Labor Government cut funding to Macquarie Home Stay, putting the crucial expansion of this specialised medical accommodation facility in doubt.
Nationals Minister for Regional Health Bronnie Taylor said the demand for affordable accommodation is there, with the Western Cancer Centre providing care to people living across the region, including the communities of Walgett, Bourke, and Cobar.
“Being diagnosed with cancer is stressful enough and the last thing I want is people delaying treatment because they are unable to cover the cost of the accommodation while receiving the care they need,” Mrs Taylor said.
“Macquarie Home Stay has done an incredible job supporting patients, their families and their carers across Central, Western and Far West NSW during some of the toughest moments of their life. This expansion will ensure the support is there for even more people.”
Nationals Minister for Western NSW and Member for Dubbo Dugald Saunders said the $2.5 million investment will help deliver 26 new rooms for Macquarie Home Stay, more than doubling the current capacity.
“Following the opening of the Western Cancer Centre, Dubbo has become a centre of excellence for healthcare in Central, Western and Far West NSW,” Mr Saunders said.
“We know that people come from well beyond the local community to receive care here, and this Government is committed to removing the barriers to ensure everyone can get the care they need no matter where they live.
“Since the Federal Labor Government pulled funding for this vital expansion, I have spoken with the Premier, Deputy Premier and Minister Taylor about the importance of this investment. Today is a great day for the people of Central, Western and Far West NSW, who know that this Government has your back.”
Mrs Taylor said the announcement complements the $149.5 million expansion of the Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme (IPTAAS), announced as part of the 2022-23 NSW Government Budget.
“With the increased subsidies through IPTAAS and affordable, specialised health accommodation in Dubbo, patients and their families won’t have to make sacrifices to receive to receive treatment,” Mrs Taylor said.
“Since the changes came into effect in August 2022, more than 6,400 people have accessed the scheme in the Central, Western and Far West NSW saving them hundreds, even thousands of dollars.”
Macquarie Home Stay is a purpose-built accommodation facility for people accessing medical services in Dubbo. It opened in January 2019 with 17 units, providing accommodation for people in the central west, north western and western NSW districts who travel to Dubbo to access healthcare.