Six new Optimal Care Pathways for blood cancers have been developed with the aim of setting consistent standards of care that should be available to all patients treated in Australia.
The pathways covering conditions such as leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma have been developed by leading clinicians from the Australasian Leukaemia & Lymphoma Group (ALLG) and the Haematology Society of Australia and New Zealand (HSANZ) with support from the Leukaemia Foundation.
They were launched on 9 August by the Blood Cancer Taskforce, which described them as “trusted guides that describe what optimal care for a particular type of cancer should look like, putting patients at the centre of care decisions.”
“They will help health professionals provide nationally consistent, high-quality, evidence-based information and holistic care at each stage of the blood cancer pathway, from diagnosis and treatment through to ongoing and end -of life care,” it said in a statement.
The six blood cancer OCPs are:
- Multiple myeloma (MM) – led by Prof Hang Quach
- Chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) – led by Prof Tim Hughes
- Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia (CLL) – led by Prof John Seymour
- Low Grade Lymphomas – led by Prof Judith Trotman and Dr Nicole Wong Doo
- Paediatric and Adolescent and Young Adult Acute Leukaemias – led by Dr Caroline Bateman
- Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS) – led by A/Prof Anoop Enjeti
Associate Professor Peter Mollee, Chair of the ALLG Scientific Advisory Committee, commended the collaboration of expert healthcare professionals to develop each OCP to a high standard.
“The ALLG is proud to have contributed to the development and is committed to see the professional haematology community uptake to and utilisation of these new OCP’s in regular practice. Each OCP provides a significant level of confidence to the clinician and the patient about optimal care,” he said.
Professor John Seymour, Blood Cancer Taskforce Co-Chair and Director, Clinical Haematology at the Peter MacCallum Centre & Royal Melbourne Hospital, said OCPs were one of the key recommendations in Australia’s National Strategic Action Plan for Blood Cancer and had the potential to deliver substantial improvements in survival outcomes and quality of life.
“Someone’s postcode should not determine the level of healthcare they receive in Australia. We know that every year we can save at least 1,375 lives by making sure people with blood cancers get the best treatment available. OCPs are the first step to making this happen,” he said.
The OCPs come in three different versions, with a full technical document for health professionals, a short quick reference guide with checklists and suggested timelines, and a patient guide designed to help them understand best cancer care.
According to the developers they are based on seven key principles of patient-centred care; safe and quality care; multidisciplinary care; supportive care; care coordination; communication; and research and clinical trials.
The six new OCPs add to the work previously done by the Cancer Council which developed OCPs for Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) and Hodgkin and Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma.
This ALLG-HSANZ partnership with the Blood Cancer Taskforce is being continued to prepare an additional 5 Optimal Care Pathways for blood cancers.