An equal partnership of patients, clinical and non-clinical carers is critical if all are to have an optimal experience. In 2016 the Victorian Department of Health prioritised lung and colorectal cancer Optimal Care Pathways (OCPs) for implementation through its 8 adult Integrated Cancer Services (ICS). The department subsequently facilitated a partnership arrangement between ICS with the state’s six Primary Health Networks (PHNs). This state-wide initiative aimed to build successful partnerships to deliver complex system change.
To organise and coordinate this OCP implementation effort, the department supported ICS in application of redesign methodology for robust identification of variations, development of solutions and monitoring of progress. Specific activities and associated measures of improvement were determined and prioritised locally, overseen by local governance committees. All local governance included consumers.
Other partnerships were progressed, with the Cancer Council Victoria and University of Melbourne to contribute to the state-wide effort and collaborate with the ICSs. Supplementary Lung Cancer Service Redesign Projects, provided a deeper response to patient access issues at 4 health services.
Victoria now has a considerable expert workforce implementing the lung and colorectal OCPs. This type of partnership approach is new and not without risk given the necessary resources invested. While this “deed of partners” is still to be evaluated, early indications suggest this strategy will positively shift clinician awareness of optimal care.
The OCPs are intended to guide the delivery of consistent, high-quality, evidence-based and culturally appropriate patient-centred cancer care. The partnerships and activity undertaken in Victoria to align the experiences of patients with an optimal system of care is being embedded across the acute and primary care sectors. Strong partnerships across this interface have been established. Future planned OCP implementation work on prostate and oesophagogastric cancers will benefit from these partnerships and capacity building.