Workforce challenges across Victorian medical oncology services

Ian M. Collins, Rob Blum, Eva Segelov, Phillip Parente, Craig Underhill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Cancer incidence is growing, with increasing treatment options and durations. This has led to an increase workload on the current oncology workforce. The global pandemic has increased this pressure further. Aims: To determine the current medical oncology workforce in Victoria, current shortfalls and future anticipated shortfalls beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: A self-reported, cross-sectional observational study of all current adult Victorian cancer services in June 2020 examining workforce, workload and early effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Results: The current average workload of 242 new patients per full-time equivalent consultant in medical oncology across Victoria. This is higher than optimal to deliver a safe and efficient cancer service. The significant variation in workforce between sites highlights the areas in need of most urgent resource allocation. Use of safe prescribing practises such as electronic chemotherapy prescribing are not universal but urgently needed. Conclusions: The medical oncology workforce in Victoria is inadequate to meet current and future demands. This needs to be addressed urgently to avoid an adverse impact on cancer measures and quality standards. Better, standardised data collection is needed to allow for ongoing measures of workforce activity. Novel workforce solutions will also need to be implemented in the short and medium term in the face of global workforce shortages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)946-950
Number of pages5
JournalInternal Medicine Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


  • health workforce
  • healthcare benchmarking
  • medical oncology

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