Planning for the Best

Tripartite National Strategic Plan for Radiation Oncology 2012-2022


Local research that results in evidence based and timely implementation of new treatment techniques and technologies

  1. Specific support for radiation oncology research is required:
    1. Clinical and health systems research in radiation oncology that produces timely evidence of safety, efficacy and cost effectiveness of new techniques and technologies must be specifically funded through a dedicated funding stream.
    2. Expansion of research support in radiation oncology that advance our understanding of biological mechanisms translating into clinical practice through specific measures such as translational training fellowships, to maximise benefits for patients.
  2. Patient awareness of clinical research needs to be increased:
    1. Health care consumers must be educated in the availability and importance of clinical research, leading to increased participation in clinical research.

Increased funding allocation to radiation oncology research that is commensurate with its contribution to cancer control

  1. It is recommended that radiation oncology research funding is increased so that:
    1. Research processes are developed from current levels and are sustainable with adequate dedicated funding
    2. Additional translational research capacity enables faster identification and adoption of new techniques and technologies that improve efficiency
  2. Workforce and equipment planning and implementation at site, jurisdiction and national levels must include the requirements to support research as an integral component of care delivery.
  3. A small grants program must be introduced to develop projects to a level of national competitiveness.

Dedicated radiation oncology research equipment and staff time are included into national service planning

  1. Infrastructure planning at jurisdiction, state and national level needs to accommodate research requirements.

Access to clinical radiation oncology equipment time for (translational and implementation) research is factored into facility service planning

  1. Facility planning needs to accommodate research requirements including discovery, translational and implementation research.

Integration of radiation oncology treatments into comprehensive electronic medical records (EMR)

  1. All treatment facilities must have the capability to collect comprehensive data sets including treatment details that can be shared through national collaborative research programs.
  2. Strategies for data support and sharing between facilities must be in place.

Research is recognised as part of core business for all radiotherapy facilities

  1. The importance of research positions needs to be recognised:
    1. research career path must be developed
    2. radiation oncology services should support research activities within their facilities
    3. Programs should be developed (if not yet in place) that combine professional with academic (doctoral or masters) qualifications.
    4. Mentorship programs must be introduced to link experienced researchers with early career professionals.
  2. The ethics and governance approval process needs to be streamlined to enable efficient collaboration.
  3. Professions must build ethics and governance literacy amongst their members.
  4. It is essential that healthcare consumers are involved in the development of trials and represented on decision-making bodies.

Multidisciplinary research teams established, incorporating discovery, translational and implementation research

  1. Active cooperation and collaboration between various departments, jurisdictions, disciplines and manufacturers must be actively encouraged.
  2. Clinical professionals must have protected time to conduct research.
  3. International collaboration in research and participation in international research projects must be encouraged and supported.
  4. Collaborative links between treatment facilities and universities need to be developed or increased (where already in place):
    1. Co-operation between universities and treatment facilities has to extend beyond teaching hospitals.
    2. Reciprocal support arrangements need to be established between universities and treatment facilities, whereby facilities provide clinical placements and universities provide research support to facilities.
    3. Support for the establishment of conjoint academic and clinical positions in all three professional groups.
    4. Research training and the creation of roles for practitioner-scientists must be fostered across the radiation oncology professions.