The Victorian Cooperative Oncology Group (VCOG) is the peak multi-specialty representative oncology forum for Victoria, consisting of over 600 health professionals. It aims to promote a range of cooperative measures to optimise cancer management and care in Victoria. With the current Victorian Cancer Action Plan expiring at the end of 2012, it was timely for VCOG to consider priorities and strategies to improve outcomes for cancer patients. VCOG sought to develop an ‘Agenda for Cancer Control’ to inform VCOG and Cancer Council Victoria’s strategic plans and advocacy priorities.
In 2010-11 VCOG undertook research with cancer clinicians’ to identify the strategies required to facilitate the delivery of optimal cancer care in Victoria (VCOG, 2012). The issues identified by clinicians through this research were used to form the initial list of priority issues for Agenda for Cancer Control. In late 2011, consultations were undertaken with members of the VCOG Executive, and all 24 VCOG Committee Chairs and Deputy Chairs to expand on the priorities and solutions identified. From the issues presented the top five priority issues were selected. Statements of the issue and recommended strategies to redress each priority area were circulated to the VCOG membership in early 2012 for further consideration.
The top five priority areas identified are:
· Improved access to radiotherapy
· Cancer care coordinators
· Victorian Patient Transport Assistance Scheme
· IT and data integration to support improved cancer care
· National Bowel Cancer Screening Program
All priorities have been strongly endorsed by the VCOG membership.
ConclusionsIt is envisaged that through the collective voice of Victorian cancer clinicians, VCOG is able to facilitate and support improved cancer care and patient outcomes. As progress in redressing the above priorities is achieved, other key areas will become part of VCOG’s Agenda for Cancer Control. VCOG will work closely with the Victorian Department of Health, the Integrated Cancer Services and consumer groups to progress these priority issues.