Planning for the Best

Tripartite National Strategic Plan for Radiation Oncology 2012-2022

Data Sources

Cancer Incidence Projections

All projections of cancer incidence and derivative projections for radiation oncology workforce and infrastructure were based on the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2012 report ‘Cancer incidence projections, Australia 2011 to 2020’. The report excludes basal and squamous cell carcinomas of the skin. In the absence of detailed and consolidated state and territory data for the projected period, jurisdiction level data was obtained by apportioning the national data by the distribution of incidence by state/territory reported in AIHW’s ‘Cancer in Australia 2010: an overview’ report.

Target Radiotherapy Utilisation Rate

The optimal radiotherapy utilisation rate was based on the study conducted by Delaney GP, Jacob S, Featherstone C and Barton MB ‘Radiotherapy in cancer care: estimating optimal utilisation from a review of evidence-based clinical guidelines’, 2003. The overall optimal radiotherapy utilisation rate used was 52.3% of new cancer cases. The figure is a nationally accepted benchmark and has been used by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) and NSW Department of health for planning purposes1-3.

Projections of Workforce and Infrastructure for Radiation Oncology

The Allen Consulting Group was commissioned to develop analysis and projections of the radiation oncology workforce and linear accelerator requirements between 2012-2022. The model covers three professional groups:

  • Radiation Oncologists;
  • Radiation Therapists; and
  • Radiation Oncology Medical Physicists (ROMPs).

A full report on this work is available at

Facilities and Equipment Data

Data on radiation oncology facilities, equipment and radiotherapy techniques across Australia was obtained from the 2011 Faculty of Radiation Oncology (RANZCR) Facilities Survey. The survey included all Australian radiotherapy facilities that were operational as of December 2010, and achieved a 98% response rate. Data collected reflected the treatment activity during 2010 calendar year.

These data were augmented with the available Medicare activity data to confirm the numbers of linear accelerators (linacs) as of December 2011, and used those data as the basis for the linac projections. In several instances, where there was a difference in the number of linacs at a facility between the Medicare activity data and the Faculty Facilities Survey data, the Medicare activity data were used.

Stakeholder Consultation

A comprehensive stakeholder analysis was developed and approved by the Tripartite Committee at its meeting in September 2011; all stakeholders were grouped into the following areas:

  • Professionals (radiation oncologists, radiation therapists and radiation oncology medical physicists across Australia)
  • Private providers of services
  • Commonwealth Government agencies and groups
  • State Governments
  • Peak Groups
  • Foundations
  • Consumer groups
  • Quality-specific
  • Workforce-specific
  • Technology-specific
  • Rural and regional -specific
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-specific
  • Research and academic groups

Submissions were invited between October and November 2011 requesting comment on issues impacting on the provision of quality radiation oncology as well as on the possible strategies to address these issues. Correspondence requesting submissions and the suggested questions for consideration by stakeholders were tailored to each stakeholder group, based on their area of professional knowledge.

Additional Information

To augment the findings from the consultation process, a limited review of literature was undertaken. The project team further utilised the following methods to develop the plan:

  • Correspondence and interviews directly with members of the professions, government representatives, peak groups and consumers;
  • A series of face-to-face consultation meetings with key experts;
  • A web-conference with the experts nominated by the Tripartite Committee to review the assumptions underpinning the workforce projections by the Allen Consulting Group (March 2011);
  • A two-day writing workshop with an extended set of experts nominated by the Tripartite Committee to review the draft Plan (April 2012);
  • Progressive review and amendments of the draft Plan by experts in specific areas;
  • A two-day writing workshop for members of the Tripartite Committee and a limited set of experts to finalise the Plan (June 2012).

A list of documents, websites and reports reviewed but not specifically referenced within the Plan is included in the bibliography for each section of the Plan.