Service Improvement Fund initiatives

The Ministry of Health set up a dedicated fund in 2014 to finance projects aimed at improving the quality of care for particular groups of cancer patients and supporting specific developments in cancer care.

Over the following two years 23 local and regional projects were completed.

Projects included a scheme designed to speed up reporting times for laboratory tests in Auckland, one which developed scientists’ skills and another which established a ‘one stop shop’ for women with suspected breast cancer in Whanganui DHB.

All the funded projects supported achieving the 62-day faster cancer treatment target, or improving services against the national tumour standards.

The fund has enabled new strategies for improving prostate cancer care, diagnosis and treatment of bowel cancer, provision of radiotherapy services and the quality of care for young people with cancer.

Round 2 of the projects were undertaken between 2015 and mid-2018. Round 2 has included the following:

  • projects undertaken by the Southern and Midland Cancer Networks to analyse how and where their patients are diagnosed with cancer. These projects have demonstrated high rates of presentation of cancer in Emergency Departments,
  • the development of Faster Cancer Treatment fast-track clinics in Southern DHB. The clinics aim to decrease the time from referral to diagnosis, by clustering together diagnostic testing. This reduces wait times for patients,
  • the ‘Valuing the Patients’ Time in Complex Cancer: Head and Neck’ project. This Canterbury and Nelson Marlborough DHBs’ project identified and analysed common bottlenecks causing delays in diagnosis and treatment. The result – decreased wait times for Nelson Malborough patients and a number of improvements in patient experience across both DHBs,
  • numerous projects specifically targeting equity. These include two separate ‘Improving the Cancer Pathway for Māori’ projects in the Bay of Plenty and in the South Island. Both projects have established specific roles, such as community educators and a pathway navigator to help Māori in their cancer journey.
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