‘Cutting edge’ care
Cancer strategy hailed as ‘most advanced in Australia’
PATIENTS facing a cancer diagnosis will be treated under a “cutting edge” plan to speed up cancer detection and treatment
The Cancer Care Strategic Plan 2015-2018, released by Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service last week, also makes note of the new 26 cancer care chairs in two new facilities, Bundaberg and Hervey Bay, as well as the employment of more specialists, surgeons and nurses.
Strong public-private partnerships will expand services and support for those in cancer treatment.
WBHHS chief executive Adrian Pennington has hailed the plan as one of the most ambitious and forward-thinking in the nation.
“This is the most advanced cancer care strategic plan I’ve seen since coming to Australia,” Mr Pennington said.
Under the plan, in cases where there is a high suspicion of cancer, patients will have their first specialist appointment within 14 days under a “red referral” system.
The plan also aspires to deliver services where patients with a confirmed cancer diagnosis will have their first cancer treatment or other management within 30 days of the decision to treat.
Earlier detection, shorter waiting times, timely access to effective diagnosis, consistent high-quality care, improved patient experience and multi-level research are the six key goals of the plan.
WBHHS cancer care service operations director Ray Johnson said the service aspired to deliver the highest-quality cancer care, using innovative and efficient clinical and management practices.
“We want to be recognised as a centre of excellence in regional and rural cancer care,” Mr Johnson said.
“We will achieve this by bringing together the best people, as teams, dedicated to delivering the highest-quality patient care, in excellent clinical environments.”
Two new cancer care facilities costing a total of $35 million – one in Hervey Bay and one in Bundaberg – will bring cancer care operations under one roof and enable better communication between treatment partners, including video links to some of Australia’s top specialists.
Four medical oncologists have been recruited by WBHHS, with the last of these expected to have taken up the role by February 2016.
Three urologists are expected to be appointed by the end of 2015.
A prostate cancer support nurse has also been appointed.
A partnership between WBHHS and Oceania Oncology in Bundaberg and Hervey Bay has further enhanced treatment options, with Oceania bringing new expertise to the area through the employment of extra radiation oncologists.
Cancer Council Queensland has also endorsed the plan, with CCQ chief executive officer Professor Jeff Dunn offering “unreserved support” for the vision to be a centre of excellence in regional and rural cancer care.
“CCQ welcomes the opportunity to work with the WBHHS on all aspects of this plan,” Prof Dunn said.
CARE: WBHHS chief executive Adrian Pennington, Jenny Kamst from Oceania Oncology and Jill Chegwidden from the Cancer Council of Queensland at the launch of the Cancer Care Strategic Plan.