Key messages

  • A Symptom and Urgent Review Clinic (SURC) is an innovative approach to the management of patients receiving chemotherapy who experience symptoms from their cancer or treatment.
  • This model helps to recognise and manage symptoms early to avoid the need for presentations to the emergency department or rescheduling of treatment.

Announcement of the 2018 Symptom and Urgent Review Clinic (SURC) Grant recipients

In August 2018 an Expression of Interest was opened for Victorian public health services to implement a SURC model of care.

The four sites awarded funding in this grant round include:

  • Albury Wodonga Health
  • Bendigo Health
  • Goulburn Valley Health
  • Latrobe Regional Hospital

Symptom and Urgent Review Clinic (SURC)

Systemic anti-cancer therapy (SACT) refers to all drugs that have a direct anti-tumor action including conventional cytotoxic drugs, monoclonal antibodies and targeted treatments.

The number of SACT occasions of service in Victoria has grown in recent years and there is an increasing trend for chemotherapy to be administered in the ambulatory environment.

Under-reporting and under-treatment of SACT side effects is well described within the literature, despite the link between effective management of SACT side effects and improved patient outcomes.

This results in a number of sub-optimal outcomes for patients experiencing chemotherapy toxicities including:

  • presenting unwell on the day of their next cycle of chemotherapy which may cause treatment delays
  • unplanned presentations to the Emergency Department (ED)
  • additional visits to their General Practitioner (GP) who may not be familiar with the expected side effects and appropriate management of the administered drugs.

An alternative model of care, the SURC was initially piloted in the Chemotherapy Day Unit (CDU) at Western Health in 2014 to support patients receiving SACT. The clinic, staffed by experienced cancer nurses, provides structured chemotherapy education prior to the first cycle of chemotherapy and functions as a telephone/walk in clinic for patients and carers (on self or clinician referral) to provide symptom assessment and management for patients experiencing treatment related side effects.

The department is supporting the adoption of the SURC model of care across the state.

An initial Symptom and Urgent Review Clinic funding round was opened in July 2017. Four sites were awarded funding including: 
  • Eastern Health
  • Austin Health
  • Monash Health (Dandenong Campus)
  • Royal Children's Hospital.

Community of Practice

A Community of Practice provides the opportunity for funded sites and individuals from non-funded services to learn from each other and to share experiences of implementing a SURC in their local environments.

The Community of Practice will be held on the following dates in 2019:

  • Friday 29 March
  • Friday 19 July
  • Friday 18 October