|Janfrey Doak, Southern Cancer Network Project Manager|
South Island cancer multi-disciplinary meetings (MDMs) have been the subject of an extensive review by the Southern Cancer Network, and a set of recommendations and areas for further action have been identified as a result.
International evidence shows that multidisciplinary care is key to providing best-practice treatment for people with cancer. This was recognised by the Ministry of Health in 2012, when a new framework was provided to DHBs to support implementation of high quality MDMs.
MDMs bring together clinical expertise from across the cancer care pathway to agree on the most appropriate treatment and care for an individual patient. Last year, a comprehensive review to measure the functionality and effectiveness of MDMs across the South Island was undertaken.
The review was modelled on a number of international examples and conducted by Southern Cancer Network Project Manager Janfrey Doak. Janfrey attended 27 MDMs from March to August 2016, interviewed 27 MDM chairs and conducted two online surveys targeted at the wider MDM membership.
Janfrey says the aim was to increase knowledge and understanding of existing processes supporting MDMs. “We wanted to understand where the issues were, what was working well and what wasn’t working well. I also wanted to learn about the success stories, so that we could share the winning formula with other MDMs.”
The key findings were presented to a meeting of MDM chairs, pathology and radiology representatives, and a representative from a regional South Island DHB, to seek their input and identify opportunities to strengthen the South Island MDM environment. The agreed recommendations are part of a wider regional report, which will be shared with the South Island Planning and Integration Team (SPaIT), South Island chief executives, general managers and chief operating officers and will be available in May.
Overall, the majority of those who contributed to the review were very positive about the current state of MDMs in the South Island, Janfrey says. “They were seen as highly valuable and an essential part of good clinical practice. The introduction of the MDM coordinator role has resulted in improved coordination and meeting efficiencies. Areas where improvements could be made include aspects of the technology and meeting management processes supporting the MDM.”
SCN would like to particularly acknowledge the significant contribution made towards the review by the South Island MDM chairs and members. “The goals of this review could not have been achieved without their support.”