The federal government will invest $1.3 million to facilitate the second stage development of the COUCH Health Services Precinct in Manunda.
Federal government funding will purchase land next to the COUCH Wellness Centre to support the future construction of much-needed short term accommodation facilities for Far North Queensland patients visiting Cairns for treatment for cancer and other illnesses.
The funding for this life-saving health initiative was contained in this year’s federal budget.
Federal Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said the additional funding comes on top of the federal government’s $1.5 million investment in 2017 towards the construction of the COUCH Wellness Centre, due to open in coming weeks.
He said this was about listening, acting and delivering for real health outcomes for the community.
“Our government is steadfast in its commitment to ensuring all Far North Queenslanders have access to the critical health services that we all rely on,” Mr Entsch said.
“In Far North Queensland, there is a growing need to provide short term accommodation and provide more support options for those facing a battle with cancer.”
“In the future, COUCH Wellness Centre patients will be offered not only a range of support services to help them with their journey back to health, but also access to appropriate and convenient accommodation.”
Mr Entsch said the multi-disciplinary approach delivered by the COUCH Wellness Centre will ensure patients receive the best support all under one roof, minimising wait times and improving health outcomes.
“I envisage there will be access to professionals across various disciplines including dietitians, exercise physiologists, occupational therapists, psychologists and counsellors,” he said.
“The new COUCH facility will make a substantial contribution to the health and wellbeing of cancer suffers and is a testament to the vision and the passion of the Woodward family.”
COUCH chair Ron Holden said the organisation identified a significant need for short-term accommodation for patients suffering from a wide range of illnesses and their carers.
“A suitable parcel of land for the development of such facilities was available adjoining the COUCH Cancer Wellness Centre site in Kauri Street at Manunda,” Mr Holden said.
“We are thrilled that this funding will allow for the purchase of the land and for COUCH to facilitate future accommodation for out-of-town patients in the same way that we facilitated the establishment of the Liz Plummer Cancer Care Centre with Warren’s assistance.
“We look forward to continuing discussions with other health care organisations that are in need of such accommodation for their clients”
Mr Entsch said Cairns COUCH Ltd was founded in 2006 by the late Charles Woodward and Pip Woodward.
“I worked extremely closely with the Woodward family, particularly Charles, to secure $8.3 million in federal funding that led to the establishment of the Liz Plummer Cancer Care Centre,” he said.
“This latest investment completes the trifecta of funding I have fought extremely hard to secure for COUCH.
“What COUCH has already delivered for our community is simply amazing.”