A vital West Australian health service has been saved from closure after the Barnett Government yesterday committed $10 million in the State Budget towards new accommodation for the state's only bone and tissue bank.
The considerable investment means PlusLife will now be able to continue its management of life-changing bone and tissue donations in WA.
"We are very grateful for the Barnett Government's decision to offer critical financial support to PlusLife to ensure our work can continue," PlusLife Managing Director Anne Cowie said.
"This funding commitment means WA can now continue to have a bone donor retrieval program with ready availability of quality transplant material, rather than forcing surgeons to seek grafts from interstate or overseas banks."
PlusLife, a not-for-profit organisation, had sought $10 million from the State Government to build new facilities, as it must vacate its current offices at Hollywood Hospital in Nedlands at the end of December this year and adjoining freezer storage by December 2017.
The State Government has leased property in Midland to PlusLife through the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority, but the organisation has been patiently awaiting funding to build the facility.
"PlusLife has been in limbo for the past six years while we tried to raise the funds through charitable means. When this failed, our last resort was to seek State Government funding. We have been anxiously waiting for a financial commitment from the State Government to build appropriate accommodation in Midland," Mrs Cowie said.
"We can now breathe a sigh of relief with the State Budget committing $10 million towards PlusLife's new headquarters, which means this essential health service can continue for the people of Western Australia."
Bone and tissue donations are required almost every day to treat patients with spinal deformities, bone cancers (mostly children), arthritic joint disease and sporting injuries, as well as facial and dental reconstruction surgery.
In other Australian states, bone and tissue banks are largely funded by state governments. WA is the only state that has operated without any government funding to date.
"Thousands of West Australians have been helped by PlusLife and bone and tissue donations. Last year alone, we supplied bone and tissue to more than 500 patients," Mrs Cowie said.
"This decision should offer some comfort to West Australians, particularly those who may need to call on a life-changing bone or tissue donation in the future."
Mrs Cowie said plans for PlusLife's new Midland headquarters were well advanced with the organisation having spent more than $164,000 on architectural plans, consultant reports, project planning and MRA fees for the proposed relocation site at the corner of Yelverton and Helena streets, Midland.
"With this very generous funding from the Barnett Government, we are now in a position to ramp up our timelines to ensure this critical development is built and we can relocate our laboratory, cleanrooms and freezer accommodation to Midland by December 2017."
PlusLife is the only bone and tissue bank in WA and has delivered services valued at more than $30 million to the community over the past 23 years - at no cost to the State. In addition to supplying for local medical procedures, it also provides bone and tissue for procedures around Australia.
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