The Northern Region Cancer Strategy 2015– 2020 signalled a clear commitment by the region’s district health boards (DHBs) to evaluate options for shifting the delivery of cancer services closer to home.
Since 2015, the Northern Region DHBs have sanctioned the local delivery of oncology chemotherapy model at CM Health and Waitemata DHB for breast and bowel cancer.
In February 2017, CM Health started a pilot for the local administration of herceptin treatment for patients with breast cancer. In August 2018, the Regional Executive Forum endorsed implementation of the second step of this ongoing work, sanctioning CM Health and Waitemata DHB to continue delivering herceptin, and start delivering zometa, herceptin/pertuzumab and blood transfusions, from 1 November 2018.
The Galbraith Infusion Centre has seen steady growth in patient volumes as the type of treatments it offers has expanded. The unit operates four days per week, with two days dedicated to medical oncology. The other two days are used by CM Health subspecialties, for patients who need infusions but do not require admission to hospital.
Oncology treatments provided are hercetpin and pertuzumab infusions for patients with breast cancer and blood transfusions for any oncology patient who is requiring a transfusion during their cancer treatment. In the graph below the red column is the volume of oncology infusions and the blue column is the infusions provided to non-oncology services – renal, rheumatology, dermatology, gastroenterology and respiratory.
We will continue to increase the volumes of locally provided chemotherapy. Decisions about the next treatment regimens to be offered will factor in equity considerations, and a potential next tranche of treatments is currently being worked through at a regional level.
There is regional support throughout the sector to continue the movement to provide treatment ‘closer to home’, as it is the right thing to do from a patient and whaanau perspective, and is consistent with the intent to build robust service delivery mechanisms within local DHBs and into the wider communities.
Development of measurable outcomes for local delivery of oncology treatment is underway, and includes patient satisfaction, equity and quality outcomes.
Non-oncology infusions will continue to be included in future planning, including a possible transfer of the facility to Manukau Health Park.