What matters to consumers?
Evolving to the VCCC Alliance in a year like no other.
In March 2020, the VCCC Alliance and Monash Partners Comprehensive Cancer Consortium formed the Victorian COVID-19 Cancer Network (VCCN) to empower health professionals to support each other to deliver optimal care for people with cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Victorian Integrated Cancer Services and Cancer Council Victoria are key collaborators in the initiative.
As the indirect and unintended consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and its management continue, the VCCN is playing an important role in leading, advocating and coordinating responses, as well as supporting the cancer workforce.
The taskforce, co-chaired by Professor Grant McArthur, Associate Professor Sue-Anne McLachlan (St Vincent’s Hospital), Associate Professor Zee Wan Wong (Peninsula Health) and Associate Professor Andrew Haydon (Monash Health) has 21 expert members. This diverse group includes consumers, patient advocates, ethicists, senior Department of Health representatives, general practitioners, nurses, pharmacists, and representation from Cancer Council Victoria patient information and support services.
Clinical issues identified by the taskforce inform the key decision-making committees in the state government through the Clinical Directors Expert Group and the Cancer Nursing Expert Group.
Involvement of the Victorian Chief Medical Officer in the taskforce and VCCN representation on the COVID-19 Clinical Leadership Expert Group have provided an opportunity to advocate and influence at the highest levels of state government and ensure alignment of VCCN activity with directives and activities in other disease areas.
The VCCN has over 800 registered members and as the pandemic progressed its activities have reflected changing needs.
Key achievements include:
In addition, a number of research papers were published, and surveys and analyses undertaken to inform actions around workforce wellbeing and resourcing, as well as advocacy on visitation and other significant issues. The VCCN Taskforce, Clinical Directors Group and Cancer Nursing Expert Group continue to meet to identify and tackle subjects that continue to arise as a result of the pandemic.
“The VCCN network has made a genuine contribution to the cancer response to the pandemic with benefits to the cancer workforce, patients and the community.” - Professor Grant McArthur.
“It filled a void and has ensured some cohesion across cancer health services, giving confidence and support on multiple levels.”
A member survey at the end of 2020 indicated that 86 per cent saw on ongoing role for the VCCN or an equivalent entity, even beyond the pandemic - rising to 100 per cent for members in regional areas.