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Review of Four Regional Cancer Networks Completed

Cancer Control New Zealand
Thursday 25 November 2010

Review of Four Regional Cancer Networks Completed

Cancer Control New Zealand has completed an evaluation of the country’s four regional cancer networks, and recommended they continue to be funded but with improvements needed in the way they operate.

The Northern, Midland, Central and Southern Regional Cancer Networks were set up in 2006 to implement many of the actions in the Cancer Control Action Plan.
“Cancer Control New Zealand initiated a review of the cancer networks to assess how they had been implemented, to identify areas for improvement and to inform the development of other health networks,” says Chair of Cancer Control New Zealand, Associate Professor Chris Atkinson.

“The evaluation has found that the regional cancer networks are making good progress and most people interviewed believed the networks were returning value for money, which was expected to increase over time
“However there is room for improvement. Cancer Control New Zealand believes there needs to be better inclusion and integration with primary care services and better monitoring and evaluation of either the networks themselves or their work streams,” says Professor Atkinson.

The evaluation has found that the networks’ work programmes are more ambitious than the staff available.

“We encourage the networks to work with stakeholders to get collective ownership and commitment to the planning, prioritisation and decision making over work priorities,” says Professor Atkinson.

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The Clinical Director of the Ministry of Health's National Cancer Programme, Dr John Childs, says he is pleased the value of the Networks has been recognised.
"The regional cancer networks were an innovation in health sector collaboration," says Dr Childs. "We know from international experience that well designed clinically led networks can enhance the way health services are delivered by working across both professional and geographical boundaries, to provide better co-ordinated services for patients."

Other findings from the evaluation include that the regional networks have:

• Significantly impacted on raising awareness of cancer inequalities
• Improved patient experiences
• Delivered better service planning and improved co-ordination between service providers
• Increased opportunities for sharing information and identifying and prioritising initiatives

The evaluation report provides a resource for District Health Boards, Regional Cancer Networks and stakeholders to examine and address the issues relevant to them. It is important that they use it to build and develop the networks into the future. It has also been provided to the Ministry of Health.

Cancer Control New Zealand encourages health officials to use the report in the development and implement of any other networks in the health sector.

The evaluation is available from http://www.cancercontrolnz.govt.nz/files/RCN%20report.pdf

Cancer Control New Zealand is a Ministerial Advisory Committee providing an independent and sustainable focus on cancer control through strategic advice to the Minister of Health. www.cancercontrolnz.govt.nz.


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