The Tripartite National Strategic Plan approaches radiation oncology from a ‘needs of the nation’ perspective. The questions posed in developing this plan are:
- What is required to improve existing radiotherapy services?
- What is required to ensure Australian patients who would benefit from radiotherapy are able to receive it?
- What is required to ensure a world class Australian radiation oncology sector that will be able to meet the increasing cancer incidence?
The aim of the resulting strategy, at its most fundamental, is to provide for all patients who could benefit from radiotherapy so that they can have timely access to optimum treatment for their disease. To facilitate this, professions and decision-makers need information and foresight to plan nationally, systematically, transparently and collaboratively. A part of planning is the issue of ensuring that the Australian radiation oncology services maintain the appropriate quality. Quality radiation oncology requires a high degree of quality control and quality assurance to ensure that services are safe, effective and are supported by appropriate infrastructure.
In the context of quality, medical quality is defined as the degree to which health care systems, services and supplies for individuals and populations increase the likelihood of positive health outcomes and are consistent with current professional knowledge1. The quality of medical services provided to the community is continually improving with the implementation of new technology, techniques and systems. Clinical quality improvement is an interdisciplinary process designed to raise the standards of delivery of preventative, diagnostic, therapeutic, and rehabilitative measures in order to maintain, restore or improve health outcomes of individuals and populations1. The standards of practice in radiation oncology reflect this approach2.
Locations of Radiation Oncology Centres in Australia