Prostate Cancer Service wins VIC Public Healthcare Award

GV Health’s Prostate Cancer Service has been named as the winner of the Excellence in cancer care Award in the 2016 Premier’s Healthcare Awards (VIC).

Prostate cancer is the most prevalent of all cancers diagnosed in the Goulburn Valley region and is a significant issue for our local community.

GV Health worked with Hume Regional Integrated Cancer Service (HRICS) to look at current prostate cancer services and gaps in the region. The Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA) had also identified that there was a significant gap in the needs of men with prostate cancer.

GV Health developed a submission to the PCFA for funding for a Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurse role in 2012 and 2014 and was unsuccessful. GV Health looked at other alternatives.

The GV Health CEO met with the Chair of the Shepparton Biggest Ever Blokes Lunch (SBEBL), a major prostate cancer fundraising event and discussed the opportunity to use the money raised to fund a nurse. The SBEBL Committee established a partnership and initially funded the PCSN role at GV Health.

The role commenced on 1 September 2014. In 2016, the SBEBL Committee announced it would continue to fund the role until the end of 2020.

Effective partnerships were needed to fund the project and to enhance services with other healthcare organisations and professionals. Community engagement was important to support those with prostate cancer and to increase awareness of those most at risk. Presentations to local service clubs and participation in men’s health activities were key.

Community engagement was achieved by speaking with local service groups (Lions, Men’s Shed, Rotary, Kiwanis), being involved in men’s health events and linking in with local prostate cancer support groups. Promoting the service and increasing awareness was also achieved through media coverage, marketing materials and internal/external networks.

Between 1 September 2014 and 31 July 2016, 200 patients were seen, 2500 individual contacts have been recorded and 70 patients presented at the new fortnightly urology Multidisciplinary Meeting.

The role of the Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurse has been invaluable in coordinating a range of cancer services to support people living with prostate cancer in the local area. The networks, partnerships and strong relationships established have brought many benefits to patients in terms of integrated care and the results will be ongoing.

Partnerships are critical. We will continue to work in close partnership with HumeRICS, the SBEBL Committee, Prostate Cancer Victoria, St Vincent’s, PMCI and Epworth, plus other health services to expand valuable prostate cancer services locally.

A number of partnerships and programs have developed, contributing to better patient outcomes.The new role has also been valuable in providing education and raising awareness about early detection and treatment.