26/08/2016 - 15:06

SolarisCare, Cancer Support WA in sync

26/08/2016 - 15:06


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Two Perth-based not for profits have teamed up to combine cancer support services, with SolarisCare and Cancer Support WA announcing their plans to merge. 

SolarisCare, Cancer Support WA in sync
David Edwards says the merger has been on the drawing board for a year. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Two Perth-based not for profits have teamed up to combine cancer support services, with SolarisCare and Cancer Support WA announcing their plans to merge.

SolarisCare managing director and chief executive of seven years, David Edwards, has been appointed to facilitate the merger process.

Mr Edwards said the organisations had been in discussion for the past 12 months, and recently decided conditions were right to work together and that, given the current market conditions, charities were actively looking at leveraging existing resources by working together.

“We are both not-for-profit organisations and we certainly see the same economic signals as everybody else, so we have to respond to those signals,” he said.

“It’s a mutual agreement focused on the best outcomes for supportive care for cancer patients and families in Western Australia, and this was the number one thing that was always going to be our driving force.”

Mr Edwards said the two organisations recognised the potential of the synergies that would arise from working together, which would ensure improved referral processes.

“There will be a stronger involvement in educational services, courses, workshops and information at the Cancer Support WA agency so that’s very valuable to us at Solaris,” he said.

“But it also gives patients options; most of SolarisCare centres are within hospital environments, whereas Cancer Support WA is on the Wanslea campus in Cottesloe.

“So it gives the option of both receiving care within the hospital environment as well as offsite.”

The agreement will enable clients from either group to access an extensive range of services in Perth and regional areas, including: complementary integrated therapies; counselling; chemo club exercise classes; referral services; support groups; education courses and workshops; and healthy lifestyle activities.

In the interim, Mr Edwards said, each organisation would continue to operate separately and staff numbers will remain relatively the same.

Plans are under way to finalise the merger in the next couple of months.

“We haven’t really made that final decision yet (of a new operating name) but it probably won’t be a drastic re-brand, it is pretty likely to come under the Solaris name,” he said. 

SolarisCare centres at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, St John of God Subiaco, Albany Health Campus and Bunbury, and Cancer Support WA’s Wanslea House facility in Cottesloe will continue to operate, with plans to open at Fiona Stanley Hospital in the near future.

“This is a very strong demonstration to corporate and philanthropic supporters that organisations like SolarisCare and Cancer Support WA understand the market conditions and are responding accordingly,” Mr Edwards said.

“We hope that we can work more closely with agencies now recognising that we are going to create efficiencies and better outcomes for the patients and families.”

Meanwhile, SolarisCare founder and chairman, David Joske, was awarded Social Entrepreneur of the Year, Western Region, at the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards last night.


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