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GICS Website
Improving patient experiences and outcomes by connecting cancer care 
and driving best practice.
GICS Website
We welcome you to the autumn edition of our newsletter, we've definitely hit the ground running this year and we're excited to share our latest news and updates regarding some of our projects that are currently underway.

First up, we're officially launching the GICS Grants Program for 2023 and we are looking forward to hearing about your service improvement ideas. We also warmly welcome a new staff member to the team; Donna Bridge, and we also have updates on some changes within our Governance Group. And last but not least, we will be sharing statewide project updates along with new cancer resources and upcoming cancer events.

Local Updates

We have officially launched our GICS Grants Program and we'd like to hear from you. Please find further details on our website and the poster below, and you can express your interest by contacting GICS Admin. Applications close on Friday 5 May 2023.
GICS 2023 Grants Program Information Poster

Welcome Donna!

We're pleased to welcome Donna Bridge (pictured below), who joined the GICS team on 15 March 2023. Donna brings with her many skills, much knowledge and familiarity with the Wimmera, all of which make her a great asset to our team. 

Tell us a little bit about your professional background?
Before jumping ship to the GICS team I had been leading the Cancer Shared Care Project at the Western Victoria PHN to develop a rural model which will now be piloted in the Wimmera and Southern Grampians in 2023. 

I have also worked at Wimmera Health Care Group implementing a Clinical Governance and Reporting structure that enabled real time access to relevant clinical data, improvement and reports. And before that as the Wimmera Southern Mallee Health Alliance Project Manager to improve the patient journey between health services in the Wimmera/Grampians. I worked with some fabulous health professionals across the Wimmera on some great innovative projects such as the Hub and Spoke Telehealth Cardiac Rehab Project, Wimmera Cancer Telehealth, Wimmera Pain Clinic model and Emergency Department patient flow initiatives. 
Where are your favourite places to visit / see / eat in the Grampians region?
I moved from Canberra to the Wimmera (Natimuk) for the world class rock climbing at Mount Arapiles and the Grampians many moons ago.  The landscape, big skies, the plants, birds and animals that come and go through the seasons are so special to me.  

I have also learned to surf whilst living here and our closest surf breaks are around Portland – just over 2 hours drive.  My husband Gordon and I, plus Labrador Champ, head off to the beach when the surf looks good.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I also enjoy mountain biking, bushwalking, swimming, bird watching, growing veggies and reading a good book.  I have just finished Richard Power’s ‘Overstory’ which was an amazing read. 

Contact Donna
If you would like to connect with Donna she will be available on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday each week; email - or phone - (03) 5320 4044. 

GICS Governance Group Chair

In February 2023 we farewelled Kate Pryde as the Chair of the GICS Governance Group following her two-year term. We take this opportunity to thank Kate, Regional Director Hospitals - East, Grampians Health, for the passion, commitment and professionalism that she brought to this role, and we look forward to continuing to work with Kate, be it in a different capacity.

We are pleased to announce that Phil Catterson, Chief Operations Officer at Central Highlands Rural Health, was nominated and accepted the role of Chair of the GICS Governance Group. Phil will commence in the role at our next quarterly Governance Group meeting scheduled for May 2023, for a term of 2 years.

In addition, we are very pleased to accept a nomination from Carmel O'Kane, Manager at the Wimmera Cancer Centre in Horsham, for the role of Deputy Chair.

Seeking Membership
The GICS Governance Group is made up of representatives from across the Grampians including staff from health services, clinicians and consumers. The group meet on a quarterly basis providing leadership, vision and overall accountability for GICS, ensuring an integrated and collaborative approach to consistent high quality cancer care in our region.  

If you have the capacity to, and interest in becoming a member of our Governance Group, please contact our Program Manager, Kerry to express your interest or seek further information. 

GICS present at Australian Healthcare Week

Recently Kerry and Glenn from the GICS team were invited to speak at the 12th Annual Australian Healthcare Week conference held in Sydney on 15 March 2023.

They discussed a current project we have underway, SMS Pro, a study to determine whether the feasibility of SMS based patient reported outcome measures (PROMS) across six pilot sites in the Grampians region. It is envisaged that via digital pathways the care experience and health outcomes of cancer patients can be improved. 

The presentation focused on the key components and design of the study in addition to sharing some of the challenges and learnings that have emerged during the project. Should you wish to know more about the SMS Pro Project please contact Glenn at GICS. 

Statewide Updates

Below are some of the recent works that have been occurring at a statewide level, within the Victorian Integrated Cancer Services (VICS) network, that are heavily focused on addressing the Action Areas within the 2020 - 2024 Victorian Cancer Plan.

New Publication 

VICS Palliative Care and Advance Care Planning: Current Practices in Victorian Cancer Services 

The Victorian Integrated Cancer Services has published a new report with important implications for anyone working in advance care planning, palliative care and end-of-life care.  The report makes 18 recommendations to address variations in:
  • the timing of access to palliative care and advance care planning,
  •  collection and storage of data
  •  promotion of palliative care services
  •  processes
  •  models of care
  •  research and quality improvement activities

View the Report
GICS will be seeking input from local clinicians working in Palliative Care to inform an understanding of the context of these recommendations for us locally and in identifying priorities for future service improvement activity. Should you wish to discuss the report and its recommendations please contact Kirsten from GICS.

Victorian Cancer Patient Experience Survey

During 13 March to 19 May 2023, Ipsos Public Affairs, on behalf of the Department of Health, will mail out paper questionnaires to randomly selected patients diagnosed with Cancer during 2021. 

The overall aim of the Victorian cancer patient experience survey is to inform areas for quality improvement through collecting information bout and reporting on the adult patient experience. The results will be available via the Victorian Healthcare Experience survey portal  -

GICS will work with stakeholders across the region to review the results and to prioritise opportunities for improvement.

The results of the cancer patient experience survey will also inform the priorities of the next Victorian Cancer Plan due for release by October 2024. 

VICS Communications Survey

Do you work in Cancer Treatment or Cancer Care in Victoria?

Health professionals and stakeholders in cancer care across Victoria are invited to complete a 5-minute survey on how you stay up to date with best practice and service improvements. 

Your responses will help the Victorian Integrated Cancer Services (VICS) better connect healthcare providers and other cancer care stakeholders, to develop and share best practice that improves patient outcomes. 

Plus, healthcare professionals who complete the survey could win a $100 gift voucher (follow link for conditions). Take the survey here and please share the link with your colleagues. The closing date for the survey is Sunday 23 April.

Take the Survey

Cancer Resources

Adolescent & Young Adult Optimal Care Pathway

VICS Palliative Care and Advance Care Planning: Current Practices in Victorian Cancer Services 

The Adolescent and Young Adult Optimal Care Pathway (AYA OCP) has been formally endorsed by Cancer Australia and the Federal Department of Health as Australia’s national pathway to guide best-practice cancer care for adolescents and young adults.

The pathway was developed by Victoria’s Paediatric Integrated Cancer Service (PICS) in collaboration with the Victorian Adolescent & Young Adult Cancer Service at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and an expert reference group chaired by Professor Ian Olver at the University of Adelaide. 

This pathway reminds and guides health professionals to consider a young person with cancer not just in the context of their disease, but equally in the context of their life stage, to reduce disparity and improve outcomes and quality of care. The report makes 18 recommendations to address variations in: 
  • the timing of access to palliative care and advance care planning,
  •  collection and storage of data
  •  promotion of palliative care services
  •  processes
  •  models of care
  •  research and quality improvement activities
Health professionals can now download a detailed cancer care pathway guide and a quick reference guide via the Cancer Council website. 

Cancer, COVID-19 + You - 2022 Report 

VICS Palliative Care and Advance Care Planning: Current Practices in Victorian Cancer Services 

The Cancer Council Victoria has released their Cancer, COVID-19 and You Report which explores experiences of cancer treatment and support services during the pandemic. It's clear from the report that COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the cancer experience in Victoria.  
  • the timing of access to palliative care and advance care planning,
  •  collection and storage of data
  •  promotion of palliative care services
  •  processes
  •  models of care
  •  research and quality improvement activities

Optimal Care Pathway for people with Neuroendocrine Tumours

Optimal Care Pathway Now Available

Cancer Council Victoria in collaboration with a multidisciplinary expert working group, has developed the following nationally endorsed resources:
  • Optimal care pathway for people with neuroendocrine tumours and quick reference guide for health professionals and health services
  • A Guide to Best Cancer Care for people with neuroendocrine tumours.
Optimal Care Pathways aim to improve patient outcomes through promoting quality cancer care and ensuring that all people diagnosed with cancer receive the best care, irrespective of where they live or receive cancer treatment. The NETs OCP can guide, support and inform increased collaboration, more effective care, improved healthcare provider–patient communication and patient experience. The NETs OCP is endorsed by Cancer Australia, and all states and territories through the Health Chief Executive Forum (former Australian Health Ministers Advisory Committee).

The Guide to Best Cancer Care is a summary of the Optimal Care Pathway and helps people affected by neuroendocrine tumours to understand the care they should receive at every step, from diagnosis, through to treatment and beyond.

To assist in your understanding of these resources and support you to promote them, the CCV have created a toolkit of resources. We encourage you to share the NETs Optimal Care Pathway, Quick Reference Guide and Guide to Best Cancer Care within your networks. 

Cancer Events

CNSA's 12th Annual Congress 

Congress 2023 - Equity in Cancer Care 

The Cancer Nurses Society of Australia (CNSA)'s 25th Annual Congress program is shaping up to be inspirational, educational and motivational as they tackle the theme of Equity in Cancer Care: Meeting the Challenge.

In the last few years, cancer nurses rose to the challenge of caring for some of our most vulnerable during the COVID pandemic. In these difficult times, limited resources and pre-existing issues across the health system exacerbated inequities in cancer care.

Join CNSA in Adelaide from Wednesday 14 to Friday 16 June 2023 as nurses from across Australia explore how to meet the challenge of equity in cancer care:
  • Equity of care for our communities
  • Equity in opportunities for cancer nurses
  • Equity of care for all our patients
CNSA will challenge the status quo and explore strategies for improving equity of cancer care. Express your interest to attend here.

Sharing News

Please feel free to share or forward our newsletter to your networks, family and friends.

If you have any forthcoming events or information, you would like us to share, please forward your content to GICS Admin.
Contact Us
Grampians Integrated Cancer Service
PO Box 577, Ballarat, VIC 3353

Ph: (03) 5320 4782
The Grampians Integrated Cancer Service is supported by the Victorian Government