Strategic Objective 3: World class health systems for optimal care

5-year goal
Action 3.5.2

Establish an Australian Comprehensive Cancer Network (ACCN) to ensure connectivity and sharing of expertise between Comprehensive Cancer Centres, other cancer services, regional hospitals, community and primary care. The establishment of an ACCN will increase equity of access across services for all patients, deliver cancer care close to home, and monitor evidence-based system performance.

An integrated, coordinated system of cancer care is critical to delivering optimal cancer care to all regions of Australia and improving outcomes across the cancer care continuum. Building on investments in Comprehensive Cancer Centres, an ACCN has the potential to strengthen collaboration across jurisdictions, centres of excellence and other cancer and health services. Key functions may include knowledge sharing, standardising person-centred clinical care and practices, enabling research-driven excellence across the cancer care continuum, strengthening transparency of reporting, governance, and translation of research, and enabling evidence-based system performance improvement.

This 5-year action builds on Action 3.2.2 Develop a national framework for networked, distributed comprehensive cancer care, to facilitate provision of services as close as safely possible to where patients live. This will include the role of Comprehensive Cancer Centres to enhance patient outcomes, strengthen transparency and accountability, and drive continuous improvements, for all patients across the network regardless of where the care is provided. The ACCN will be established with clearly defined roles and accountability mechanisms both within the broader health system and cancer care across the cancer continuum from prevention and early detection to treatment, survivorship and end-of-life, and encompassing all Australians.

The establishment of an ACCN could:

  • promote collaboration between Australia’s leading cancer centres, researchers, and specialists to deliver world-class, equitable, accessible, and evidence-based cancer care for all Australians, regardless of location, background, or cancer type
  • strengthen links between comprehensive cancer centres and drive collaboration between and within jurisdictions, as well as partnering with the primary care sector, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services, and private providers
  • extend ongoing monitoring of system performance across the network and individual service providers within the network to identify centres of excellence and areas of improvement to be addressed, including ongoing development of the workforce and research priorities. It is important that the ACCN is based on standards for research as well as clinical outcomes, with an emphasis on person-centred care
  • establish and maintain a clear governance model for the effective management and leadership of centres, with enough flexibility to accommodate different structures and settings across the ACCN. This action may also incorporate the development of a framework and guidelines on how cancer centres can join the ACCN, minimum standards and requirements for monitoring and improvements.

Monitoring system performance will ensure that evidence-based, transformative research and care conducted through the ACCN is expanded to all Australians, improving equity of access across services for all consumers including their carers and families.

The implementation of this action builds on the considerations covered in Action 3.5.1 Integrate Optimal Care Pathways (OCPs) as routine cancer care using a monitoring and evaluation system that links the implementation of OCPs to patient outcomes and experience. The establishment of any performance standards or guidelines should be produced in collaboration with priority population groups, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, to ensure that the needs and cultural safety of all people is prioritised in the delivery of services through the ACCN. This action could also ensure distribution of the ACCN across Australia, including rural, remote, and lower socioeconomic areas to ensure equity.

Stakeholder Quotes

There is a pressing need to develop Comprehensive Cancer Centres across Australia to streamline care to meet a new national standard.
Public Consultation Submission
There is a pressing need to develop Comprehensive Cancer Centres across Australia to streamline care to meet a new national standard.
Public Consultation Submission
We need a nationally consistent approach for accreditation of cancer centres within and between jurisdictions and minimum (but aspirational) standards for cancer centres.
Targeted Engagement
Person-centred care is the core focus of a comprehensive cancer centre.
Targeted Engagement

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