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29 Mar 2020
Press Release

Victorian COVID-19 Cancer Network launches

  • Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre
  • Monash Partners Comprehensive Cancer Consortium

Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre alliance and Monash Partners Comprehensive Cancer Consortium join forces to coordinate response to COVID-19

A new collaborative platform will help health professionals respond to the treatment and care needs of patients with cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The current pandemic raises critical clinical questions and challenges for health professionals seeking to continue optimal care for patients with cancer.

The new Victorian COVID-19 Cancer Network (VCCN) aims to provide support and advice to enable clinicians and health care services to deliver best possible care for patients with cancer during this rapidly-changing situation.

This new network will tap the extensive knowledge held by individual clinicians, departments, institutions and patient advocacy groups across Victoria, Australia and internationally, to curate, collate and share guidance, ideas and solutions for health professionals who urgently need this support.

Professor Grant McArthur, Executive Director of the VCCC alliance said, “Nimble and pragmatic responses are needed immediately to ensure best possible care can be consistently delivered to all Victorian patients. I have been absolutely blown away by the determination, dedication and willingness of cancer experts from across the state to step forward to share knowledge and resources that will benefit patients everywhere.”

The Victorian COVID-19 Cancer Taskforce is comprised of expert members from a wide range of disciplines including general practice, medical oncology, haematology, radiation oncology, paediatric and geriatric oncology, pharmacy and a number of other specialities, as well as consumers and representation from the Victorian Department of Human Services. Taskforce members also represent metropolitan, regional and rural Victoria, as well as vulnerable groups including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

The new digital network platform will:

  • Provide strategic initiatives to guide and optimise care for cancer patients across the cancer community
  • Share endorsed information and guidance for practitioners
  • Provide specialised channels for various tumour streams and interest areas, for example cancer clinical trials, telehealth or haematology
  • Enable conversations and chat for shared problem solving and support.

A dedicated VCCN expert group led by Cancer Council Victoria has been charged with ensuring information is shared with patients, carers and the community during this time of increased concern and stress.

The Taskforce's first initiative was a special live stream webinar on Monday 23 March. The event was joined by close to a thousand members of the cancer community across Australia, keen to share knowledge and support each other in planning and prioritising the clinical systems and processes required to effectively support patients with cancer during the outbreak.

Professor Eva Segelov, Professor Director of Oncology at Monash Health and Monash University, and Clinical Research Director of Monash Partners Comprehensive Cancer Consortium, said the taskforce was a great example of clinicians supporting clinicians for the benefit of their patients.

“Healthcare professionals are under pressure like never before. This VCCC and MPCCC collaboration provides much needed resources and information and a forum for sharing and conversations that offers vital support on multiple levels.”

The Victorian COVID-19 Cancer Network is now available to cancer healthcare professionals, find out more and register for access.