In response to an urgent need for administrative support and workforce training during the COVID-19 pandemic, staff from Victoria’s eight region-based Integrated Cancer Services (ICS) were reassigned across Victoria’s health services in late March.
The Victorian Integrated Cancer Services (VICS) comprise clusters of hospitals and health services that deliver cancer services for people with all types of cancers in metropolitan and regional Victoria.
“The expertise of VICS in cancer service improvement activities has facilitated the rapid support accorded to their member health services needs in response to COVID-19,” said Associate Professor Zee Wan Wong, Head of Oncology Unit, Peninsula Health, Joint Clinical Director of the Southern Melbourne Integrated Cancer Service (SMICS).
“We saw this as an opportunity to add value to our member health services by taking over some of the detail that they didn’t have the capacity to deal with,” said Ms Seleena Sherwell, Program Manager of the Southern Melbourne Integrated Cancer Service (SMICS).
“The VICS have assisted with a range of activities, including developing information and training, pre-clinic screening, rescheduling of appointments and support to maintain the quality of multidisciplinary meetings as they transitioned to an online platform. We continue to provide project and administrative support to enable the implementation of sustainable telehealth services across multiple institutions,” Ms Sherwell added.
Another important activity VICS have contributed to is the Victorian COVID-19 Cancer Network (VCCN). VICS have been involved in the VCCN since it was formed in March this year, redeploying Program and Project Managers to support the VCCN’s Expert Advisory Groups and engaging with clinical care networks to include them in planning and implementing health service changes.
“The Victorian Integrated Cancer Services have worked with the clinical cancer networks for a long time, so we are familiar with them and know how implement change in an efficient and effective way,” said Ms Joanne Gell, Strategic Director of Grampians Integrated Cancer Services and Program support for the VCCN Clinical Directors Group.
“By contributing to these initiatives, the VICS are helping to progress innovation in cancer services across regional and metropolitan Victoria,” added Associate Professor Andrew Haydon, Consultant Medical Oncologist at Alfred Health, Joint Clinical Director of SMICS.
“Some of the new practices that have come about due to COVID-19 have created new models of care and efficiencies that will likely result in longer term improvements to cancer care such as telehealth beyond the pandemic,” Associate Professor Wong commented.
Further information about the Victorian Integrated Cancer Services is available at https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/about/health-strategies/cancer-care/integrated-cancer-services