The VCCC alliance gives us the opportunity to do things differently. Bringing together 10 cancer clinical and research organisations is giving us the opportunity to demonstrably change the way people in our sector work for the benefit of cancer patients.
From our earliest days the decision was made to have consumers as active partners in our vision and strategy.
"We’re in the process of doing a couple of things: we’re building both a building and a program. And so the board of the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre has decided we will have consumers on all our committees and program committees and we’re going through the process of doing that as we set up new committees." Jim Bishop, former Executive Director, Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre
In 2018 we put further resources and effort behind consumer engagement with the development of the VCCC Consumer Engagement Action Plan and subsequent appointment of a Consumer Engagement Manager. Each new project now begins with the question, “Where is the consumer in this?”
And we have tried to listen. Our regard for our consumer relationships is significant. As trust continues to grow, consumer voices are more confident, informative and effective. And we are realising the value in numerous ways.
"The embracing, genuine nature of VCCC consumer participation is its hallmark." Member of the VCCC Cancer Consumer Advisory Committee
Our interactions have been extensive. Consumers were involved in a clinical trials consumer focus group to help draft the framework for our clinical trial plan. They have joined us as keynote speakers, as presenters and on panels.
Many joined the Cancer Survivorship for Primary Care Practitioners working group making a significant contribution to cancer education and primary care. They were integral to major meetings such as the Palliative Care Conference, the VCCC Post-Doctoral Symposium, the VCCC Medicinal Cannabis Symposium, the VCCC Psycho-oncology Conference, the VCCC Survivorship Conference, our major Research Conferences in 2017 and 2019 and the Supportive Care in Cancer Refresh Project Reference Group Committee.
Consumers have supported recruitment initiatives and research projects by joining interview panels and steering groups. Why and how to engage with consumers is being incorporated into the Cancer Research subject in the 2020 Master of Cancer Sciences postgraduate program - and features Anne McKenzie, one of Australia's leading consumer voices.
I would like to express my sincere thanks to the VCCC Cancer Consumer Advisory Committee for their care and dedication in enabling consumer engagement throughout our organisation, as well as all community members who seek to improve the experience of others now and into the future.
Grant McArthur VCCC Executive Director, clinician and consumer