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Wooldridge announces radiation oncology inquiry.



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Media Release Dr Michael Wooldridge Minister for Health and Aged Care

MW78/01 27 August 2001

WOOLDRIDGE ANNOUNCES RADIATION ONCOLOGY INQUIRY The Federal Minister for Health and Aged Care, Dr Michael Wooldridge, today announced an inquiry into the provision of radiation oncology services in Australia.

Dr Wooldridge said the aim of the inquiry was to examine the complete picture of radiation therapy services for cancer and to develop a national plan to promote increased patient access to these treatment services in the future.

"The Commonwealth will be heading a wide-ranging review into the delivery of cancer services in Australia, especially given the challenges facing our ageing population," Dr Wooldridge said.

"I have also asked the Inquiry to focus on the access Australians living in regional and rural areas have to cancer treatment services.

"The Commonwealth is seeking to work co-operatively with the States and Territories to provide a long-term solution to the workforce, training and equipment shortfalls within the sector.

"The Inquiry will also examine the respective roles of radiation oncologists, radiation therapists and radiation physicists, their training, career opportunities, remuneration and workloads.

"It is vital that there are adequate staff to operate these machines and that these staff have access to real career structures," Dr Wooldridge said.

Dr Wooldridge said the Inquiry would build on existing initiatives that aimed to boost access to radiation oncology services, including trials of Single Machine Unit facilities in selected rural areas.

"I am pleased to announce that the Inquiry will be chaired by Professor Peter Baume and his Committee will include representatives from the Commonwealth and the States, the radiation oncology profession, as well as a consumer representative," Dr Wooldridge said.

Attachment

Radiation Oncology Inquiry-Terms of Reference

Background

The Radiation Oncology Inquiry is to examine and make recommendations on Australia's usage of radiation therapy as a cancer treatment modality with reference to current capacity, international best practice, clinical efficacy, as well as other cancer treatment modalities. Special attention is to be paid to research work already commissioned in Australia.

The terms of reference for the Radiation Oncology Inquiry are as follows:

1. Examine and make recommendations on the number and distribution of radiation oncology units needed with reference to appropriate usage levels and patient accessibility, taking into account alternative models of service delivery.

2. Examine the respective roles of radiation oncologists, radiation therapists and radiation physicists in the planning and treatment of cancer patients.

2.1. Examine the radiation oncologist workforce including training, continuing education and recertification, remuneration and workload.

2.2. Examine the specific role of radiation therapists including training, continuing education and recertification, career opportunities, remuneration and workload.

2.3. Examine the specific role of radiation physicists including training, continuing education and recertification, career opportunities, remuneration and workload.

3. Examine and make recommendations on funding arrangements for radiation oncology with reference to Commonwealth and State funding of public and private providers and other financial considerations including private health insurance.

4. Examine and make recommendations on patient access to radiation oncology with particular reference to access by rural patients.

5. Examine and report on how the Commonwealth, the States and private industry can work together and implement a strategic plan incorporating strategies for data collection, standards and accreditation of units, continuous evaluation of system performance, equipment replacement, State planning and ongoing education and recertification of the radiation oncology workforce.

Steering Committee Membership:

Chair-Professor Peter Baume

Economist

State/Territory representative

State Cancer Council representative

Radiation oncologist representative

Other oncology representative

Radiation therapist representative

Radiation physicist representative

Consumer representative

Commonwealth representative

Media Contact: Craig Simonetto, Office of Dr Wooldridge, 02 6277 7220

General Enquiries: Bridget Goodwin, Department of Health and Aged Care, 02 6289 5998

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Published on Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care web site 28 August 2001 Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care URL: http://www.health.gov.au/mediarel/yr2001/mw/mw01078.htm