This Radiation Oncology National Linear Accelerator and Workforce Plan (‘the Plan’) is intended to inform a nationally coordinated approach to radiation oncology service and capacity development, within the context of the National Cancer Programme.
The Plan focuses in particular on projected demand growth for radiation therapy, its implications for linear accelerator (‘linac’) and workforce capacity, and associated cost impacts. It also considers issues arising from this capacity modelling, including:
- variation in access to radiation therapy
- radiation therapy intervention rates
- development of national benchmarking and standards to support performance and quality improvement
- evaluation and uptake of new techniques and models of care
- fostering national collaboration.
It builds on initial capacity planning of radiation therapy services published in 2012 by the regional cancer networks, and provides national guidance and a tool (the ‘National Linear Accelerator and Workforce Capacity Model’) to support further development of local and regional service and capacity planning by DHBs. In addition, the Plan will inform national decision-making by the Ministry and other central agencies on radiation oncology services over the next 5–10 years.
The aims of national planning for radiation oncology services are to support:
- provision of high quality services, including timely and equitable access to radiation therapy for all patients for whom it is clinically appropriate
- development of the linac and workforce capacity required to meet future cancer incidence and radiation therapy intervention rates, including effective linkage of local, regional and national planning and decision-making within the framework of the National Cancer Programme
- improved service performance through adoption of innovative approaches to patient care and resource use, and agreed quality standards
- planned evaluation and uptake of effective new techniques and technologies, and development of sub-specialisation by cancer centres where appropriate.
This is New Zealand’s first dedicated national radiation oncology plan. It provides a national view, and is intended to be supportive of DHB-led service and capital planning and decision-making at local and regional levels.