Oncologist input sought on National Optimal Care Pathways Framework

Cancer care

By Michael Woodhead

25 Mar 2024

Cancer clinicians are being invited to have their say on the Draft National Optimal Care Pathways (OCP) Framework that is being developed as part of the first national Australian Cancer Plan.

Cancer Australia has put the draft (link here) out for consultation to stakeholders in the cancer sector to provide input that will help refine and strengthen the final OCP Framework.

“OCPs have been embedded in the Plan as national standards of consistent, safe, high-quality, and evidence-based care, including cancer-specific and population-specific OCPs,” the agency said in a statement released this month.

“A nationally consistent framework for OCPs is needed to standardise the approach to developing, updating, adapting, evaluating, and embedding OCPs into cancer care. This will support health professionals and health services to deliver optimal care, and ensure OCPs are available to, and resonate with, people affected by cancer,” it said.

“The vision is for OCPs to be embedded into clinical practice as the standard of cancer care, ensuring cultural safety and accessibility throughout the cancer journey, improving equity in cancer care and outcomes for all Australians.”

According to the draft version, OCPs will be based on principles of equity, being future-focused, person-centred and collaborative.

The draft envisions improving functionality of the OCPs for clinicians by digitising them to make them more accessible, and embedding them into existing clinical workflows.

The framework also proposes incorporating cancer specific and population based OCPs into clinical education, including oncology education, training and continuing professional development programs within universities and professional colleges.

“One key vehicle to support the uptake of OCPs as the standard of cancer care throughout Australia will be the Australian Comprehensive Cancer Network (ACCN),” the draft framework states.

“The ACCN, anchored by Comprehensive Cancer Centres (CCCs) as centres of excellence, will provide strategic leadership and drive excellence in cancer care across the sector and will improve equitable access to cancer care by creating and strengthening linkages and sharing expertise between CCCs and other cancer services, primary and community care across Australia.”

A webinar for cancer clinicians and allied health professionals is being held on Tuesday 2 April, and discussion from webinars will be used to refine and improve the draft National OCP Framework.

Consultation will close on Monday, 8 April 2024.

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