Background and Context:
Cancer care is complex; despite the universal availability of publicly funded cancer treatment some people in New Zealand experience difficulty accessing care. This is a particular issue for some ethnic groups and for people from socioeconomically deprived areas. Ministry of Health statistics show these groups are more likely to have their cancer detected later and experience poorer outcomes. The New Zealand government provided additional funding in 2012 for cancer care coordination.
Develop a national cancer nurse coordination initiative that improves timeliness and quality of care, and outcomes for people with cancer.
The Ministry of Health worked with consumers, nurses and a range of national and international experts in cancer care to establish the cancer nurse coordinator initiative.
A National Nurse Lead was appointed to ensure a strategic and consistent national approach to implementation, and develop tools and processes to support the new workforce. With national support, 20 district health boards developed cancer nurse coordinator roles to address the unique set of issues impacting on care coordination for patients in their communities. Cancer nurse coordinators improve patient care through timely diagnosis and initiation of treatment, providing quality care, promoting equity and empowering patients and families. Nurses identify barriers or gaps in and work with existing cancer services to make improvements.
Outcomes/What was learned:
The cancer nurse coordinator initiative is evaluated nationally, with early data available in June 2014. The evaluation will inform the ongoing nature of the roles. Case studies show nurses are positively impacting on patient experience, especially when care is complex or a patient is required to travel. Data is also reported on using faster cancer treatment pathway indicators. The National Nurse Lead plays a key role in facilitating regional and national communication to share learnings and support a process of continuous improvement.