Guidelines for timely initiation of chemotherapy: a proposed framework for access to medical oncology and haematology cancer clinics and chemotherapy services

M. Alexander, R. Beattie-Manning, R. Blum, J. Byrne, C. Hornby, C. Kearny, N. Love, J. McGlashan, S. McKiernan, J. L. Milar, D. Murray, S. Opat, P. Parente, J. Thomas, N. Tweddle, C. Underhill, K. Whitfield, S. Kirsa, D. Rischin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOtherpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


These guidelines, informed by the best available evidence and consensus expert opinion, provide a framework to guide the timely initiation of chemotherapy for treating cancer. They sit at the intersection of patient experience, state-of-the-art disease management and rational efficient service provision for these patients at a system level. Internationally, cancer waiting times are routinely measured and publicly reported. In Australia, there are existing policies and guidelines relating to the timeliness of cancer care for surgery and radiation therapy; however, until now, equivalent guidance for chemotherapy was lacking. Timeliness of care should be informed, where available, by evidence for improved patient outcomes. Independent of this, it should be recognised that shorter waiting periods are likely to reduce patient anxiety. While these guidelines were developed as part of a proposed framework for consideration by the Victorian Department of Health, they are clinically relevant to national and international cancer services. They are intended to be used by clinical and administrative staff within cancer services. Adoption of these guidelines, which are for the timely triage, review and treatment of cancer patients receiving systemic chemotherapy, aims to ensure that patients receive care within a timeframe that will maximise health outcomes, and that access to care is consistent and equitable across cancer services. Local monitoring of performance against this guideline will enable cancer service providers to manage proactively future service demand.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)964-969
Number of pages6
JournalInternal Medicine Journal
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016


  • cancer
  • chemotherapy
  • drug therapy
  • guidelines
  • quality indicator
  • timely

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