An alliance of the four leading bodies representing the radiation therapy sector has today outlined key requirements to ensure Australians living in regional and rural areas have improved access to quality cancer care.
The Radiation Oncology Alliance worked together to update the Establishing and sustaining regional and rural radiation therapy centres issues paper, first published in 2016. The alliance consists of The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists’ (RANZCR) Faculty of Radiation Oncology, Australasian College for Physical Scientists and Engineers in Medicine (ACPSEM), Australian Society of Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy (ASMIRT), and Cancer Nurses Society of Australia (CNSA).
The paper outlines principles to guide the establishment of radiation therapy services in regional and rural areas, including workforce and resourcing, IT infrastructure, and local collaboration. We welcome the $63 million commitment from the Australian Government to build radiation therapy treatment centres in 13 new locations across regional and rural Australia and hope the paper will provide guidance to make these centres a success.
RANZCR President Dr Lance Lawler said, “We know that cancer outcomes are currently worse for regional and rural patients. They face many challenges in accessing the care they need, including travel and accommodation for outpatient treatments like radiation therapy. The new regional radiation therapy centres will help address these current gaps in cancer services and better meet the individual needs of the communities they will service.
“It is recommended that the facility be integrated within local health services and establish linkages with tertiary centres. We urge the government and other stakeholders to carefully consider all factors outlined in this paper to ensure that the new radiation therapy centres deliver quality care and equitable outcomes for cancer patients in regional Australia.”
RANZCR will continue to work closely with the Australian Government to ensure regional and rural cancer patients have access to the highest quality cancer care.