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Oesophagogastric cancer patient experience data report

In 2023-24, the VICS Optimal Care Summits program engaged clinicians, stakeholders and consumers in a strategic consultation to identify unwarranted variations in oesophagogastric cancer care and outcomes across Victoria. The consultation used a mixture of methods to identify and prioritise unwarranted variations in care and outcomes, including analysis of data from the 2023 Victorian Cancer Patient Experience Survey, focus groups, and one-on-one discussions with people affected by oesophagogastric cancer (consumers).

The survey data showed 98% of oesophagogastric cancer patients rated highly their overall care received from health professionals involved in their treatment. One consumer who spoke to the VICS praised the multidisciplinary care they received: ‘Every professional involved in my initial treatment plan collaborated to develop the best care plan possible for me.’

Opportunities to improve include reducing waiting times from GP referral to specialist care and from readiness for treatment to starting treatment: Only 39% of respondents waited less than 2 weeks from when they were referred by their GP to when they were seen by a specialist/clinic.

Gaps were identified in information and support: Only 67% of respondents were happy with the format in which their diagnosis was explained and just over half (53%) reported having long-term side effects discussed.

Our focus group participants felt that both GPs and patients had missed key cancer symptoms. They also reported unmet information needs including a lack of access to clinical trials, and lack of access to allied health services and supportive care. Issues with communication seemed to be a point of frustration. One participant reported that health services were ‘Very slow in passing on results of scans to the doctor/surgeon who originally diagnosed the cancer’.

The gaps in optimal care provision identified from these processes informed identification and prioritisation of 20 unwarranted variations in oesophagogastric cancer care and outcomes. The top 3 priority variations were discussed at summit event in March 2024, with nearly 100 stakeholders including people affected by oesophagogastric cancer. A statewide register of actions proposed by the VICS and our partners to address unwarranted variations will be published in June.


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