Victoria has been a leader in improving cancer care in regional areas since the early 2000s, starting with the establishment and evaluation of regional radiotherapy services, and progressing over the last decade with regional integrated cancer services that lead local implementation of cancer reforms across the state. Victoria’s state-of-the-art regional cancer centres go a step further by providing a critical mass of services and staff to support high-quality care into the future.
Cancer services in regional Victoria aim to provide care for cancer patients as close to home as is safe and practicable. If a person needs to be referred to a larger service for diagnosis, treatment or follow-up care, regional cancer services work together to ensure consistency and quality of care.
Regional cancer centres are the cornerstone of regional cancer care within the Victorian cancer system.
Regional cancer centres are expected to plan and deliver services based on their size and their capability to safely provide specialist cancer care. They monitor service delivery, patient outcomes and peoples’ experiences to ensure region-wide access to high-quality cancer services.
Victoria's regional integrated cancer services build relationships and networks to support best-practice models of care and to coordinate regional cancer care. They work with regional health services to monitor and improve performance.
Regional cancer centre forum
On 21 October 2016 the Department of Health & Human Services convened a forum that brought together 70 clinicians, senior executives and leaders in regional cancer care to hear about the directions and successes of regional cancer centres in developing and supporting region-wide, high-quality and contemporary cancer care.
The forum also provided an opportunity to identify areas where services can continue to develop to improve care and outcomes for regional cancer patients, as well as opportunities to work together to achieve this.
The forum participants discussed and agreed on the possible key roles, functions and relationships between the regional cancer centres and health services across their regions.
The forum featured the following presentations.
- Associate Professor Andrew Wilson, the department's Chief Medical Officer, spoke about new directions in quality and safety, focussing on strengthened clinical engagement.
- Dr Craig Underhill, former Regional Oncology Chair of the Clinical Oncological Society of Australia and Clinical Director of the Hume Integrated Cancer Service, spoke about building clinical capacity in rural cancer services.
- Mr Dale Fraser, Chief Executive Officer of Ballarat Health Services and past Chair of the Executive Committee for the Hume Integrated Cancer Service, spoke about the disparity between care outcomes in metropolitan and regional areas, and the role that regional cancer centres have in addressing this.
- Representatives from each of the five regional cancer centres spoke about how their centre is supporting their region to improve care and outcomes.