Radiation Oncology Reform Implementation Committee (RORIC) Meeting, 26 March 2013

Following it's 22nd and final meeting held on 26 March 2013 RORIC has now released it's Communique for this meeting.

Page last updated: 12 April 2016

Communique

Background

RORIC was an inter-jurisdictional committee which included other key stakeholders. It was established in November 2003 by the Australian Health Ministers’ Conference (AHMC) to progress national radiation oncology reforms in response to the 2002 report, A Vision for Radiotherapy – Report of the Radiation Oncology Inquiry (Baume Report) that followed a 2001-02 radiation oncology inquiry. The Baume Report showed that there were many problems in radiation therapy due to fragmentation between the different levels of government, and the centrepiece of the Report was the recommendation of a national body for planning, quality and funding purposes.

As a sub-committee of the Clinical Technical Ethical Principal Committee (CTEPC), RORIC provided a formal mechanism for jurisdictions and other key stakeholders to collaborate on major reforms and initiatives required to improve patient access to radiation therapy nationally. The key objective of RORIC was to facilitate the planning and implementation of strategies to ensure improved radiation therapy service outcomes for patients. RORIC arrangements changed early in 2012 to fall under the auspices of the Hospitals Principal Committee.

The role of RORIC Chair was held by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing, which also provided secretariat support for the committee and its working groups. Membership consisted of:
  • a senior representative from each of the State, Territory and Commonwealth departments of health;
  • a technical expert;
  • a professional representative nominated by, but not representing, the Tripartite Committee (a committee consisting of the three radiation oncology professional groups: the Faculty of Radiation Oncology, RANZCR; the Australasian College of Physical Scientists & Engineers in Medicine (ACPSEM); and the Australian Institute of Radiography (AIR);
  • a consumer representative nominated by, and representing, Cancer Voices Australia, and
  • an expert adviser from Cancer Australia.
RORIC has had three working groups which were tasked with undertaking activities relating to various aspects of radiation oncology: the Quality Working Group, the Service Planning Forum and the Workforce Working Group.

Following the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council (AHMAC) Review of the Second Tier of AHMAC Principal Committees in February 2012, AHMAC made a decision to discontinue RORIC on 31 August 2012. Advice provided by the Hospitals Principal Committee (HPC) stated that HPC agreed to a six month transition period to complete projects on RORIC’s workplan.

The meeting of 26 March 2013 was RORIC’s 22nd and final meeting.

Progress and achievements since the Baume Report

There has been considerable investment in the radiation oncology sector in the last 10 years. Using national radiotherapy planning parameters, it is estimated that there is now treatment capacity in Australia to provide access to around 80 per cent of patients who would benefit from radiotherapy. This proportion varies across jurisdictions, with some having sufficient capacity planned, or in place, to deliver radiotherapy treatment as per the agreed national planning parameters. It is expected that this figure will continue to rise as new facilities come on line with continued investment from state and territory governments, the Commonwealth, and the private sector.

There have been substantial achievements in areas of quality, service planning and workforce.

Quality

The work of the jurisdictions, the Commonwealth and the profession has contributed significantly to increasing the quality of radiation oncology services. Key achievements of RORIC’s Quality Working Group are:

2008
  • Drafting of the Radiation Oncology Practice Standards by the Tripartite Standards Working Group
  • Level 3 Dosimetry Audit Trial, “Elvis the Pelvis”
2009
  • Development of the Business Case for a National Dosimetric Audit Program
2010
  • Trialling of the Radiation Oncology Practice Standards
  • Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Health and Ageing and the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) to operate the Australian Clinical Dosimetry Service (ACDS) for 3 years
2011
  • Publication of the Radiation Oncology Practice Standards and accompanying supplementary guide
  • Quality symposium - ‘Beyond Bricks & Mortar – Building Quality Clinical Cancer Services’
  • Opening of the ACDS
2012
  • Evaluation of the three year trial of the ACDS
  • Survey of radiation oncology facilities to collect information about their incident reporting systems
2013
  • Report on the Survey of incident reporting systems

Service Planning

The work of the jurisdictions, the Commonwealth and the profession has contributed significantly to radiotherapy and cancer planning which has enabled jurisdictions to better target the provision of radiotherapy services to patients, including through informed placement of equipment. Key achievements of RORIC’s Service Planning Forum are:

2003
  • Planning for Radiotherapy Services in NSW to 2006
2004
  • CCORE – Radiotherapy Utilisation Rates
  • Areas of Need analysis
2006
  • SA Radiotherapy Plan
2007
  • ACT Radiotherapy Plan
2008
  • Victorian Radiotherapy Service Plan
2009
  • Base Profiles for Radiotherapy Equipment (NSW Health)
  • Areas of Need analysis updated
  • Single Machine Unit (SMU) trial ‘Lessons Learned’ document
2010
  • Capital Project Lessons Learned Symposium
  • Report - Establishing Radiation Oncology Services in Regional Areas – Experiences of the national radiotherapy Single Machine Unit trial and other regional radiation oncology models
  • Areas of Need analysis updated
  • NSW Strategic Radiotherapy Plan to 2016
  • TAS Radiotherapy Plan
2012
  • Radiation Oncology Minimum Data Set
  • Collaboration with National E Health and Information Principal Committee on the Radiotherapy Wait Times Data Set Specification
  • Review Radiotherapy Optimal Utilisation Rates

Workforce

The work of the jurisdictions, the Commonwealth and the profession has contributed significantly to addressing workforce issues including increasing available radiation therapy workforce intern positions, and the number of qualified radiation oncology medical physicists. Key achievements of RORIC’s Workforce Working Group are:

2003
  • Development of the Training Education and Accreditation Program (TEAP) for medical physicists
2004
  • Development of a Medical Physicist Distance Education Training Program through University of Adelaide
  • Funding for Fast-Track accreditation of Radiation Oncology Medical Physicists (ROMPs)
  • Clinical Preceptor Support for Radiation Therapy
  • Radiation Therapy Student Support Program
  • Development of Graduate Entry Master of Radiation Therapy Course at Monash University.
2005
  • Continuing Professional Development Activities for Radiation Therapists and Medical Physicists
  • Radiation Oncology Skill Mix & Work Analysis
2006
  • RT Clinical Placements
  • RT Professional Development Year (PDY) positions*
  • ROMP Registrar positions and preceptor support*
  • 2007
  • RT PDY positions*
  • ROMP Registrar positions and preceptor support*
  • Sponsorship of ACPSEM-EPSM Conference 
2008
  • Funding for the AIR to develop and run 'Train-the-Trainer' courses for Radiation Therapists involved in providing preceptor support to learners.
  • RT undergraduate placements
  • RT PDY positions*
2009
  • Radiation Oncology Workforce Review & Census
  • Review of TEAP
  • RT PDY positions*
  • ROMP Registrar positions and preceptor support*
  • Funding for ESTRO Course
  • Development of WA ROMP Training Program*
  • Sponsorship of ACPSEM-EPSM Conference
  • Strengthening ROMP workforce (ACPSEM)
2010
  • RORIC Workforce Reform Framework
  • RT PDY positions*
  • ROMP Registrar positions and preceptor support*
  • Sponsorship of ACPSEM-EPSM Conference
2011
  • RT PDY positions*
  • ROMP Registrar positions and preceptor support*
  • Sponsorship of ACPSEM-EPSM Conference
  • RORIC Workforce Reform Framework
  • BARO Workforce Innovations Grant Funding Round
2012
  • Draft Implementation Plan for RORIC Workforce Reform Framework
  • (5 Year Forecast)
* Jointly funded by the Australian Government and the relevant State or Territory Governments

AHMAC Review

At its meeting on 27 April 2012, AHMAC agreed to a review of the committees, sub-committees, working groups and advisory committees which exist under the new AHMAC Principal Committees. This followed the review of the AHMAC Principal Committee structure undertaken earlier in 2012.

The Review was asked to make recommendations on:
  • the continuing relevance to AHMAC of these committees and groups, taking into account the principal purpose, priority tasks and membership of each;
  • the placement of each committee/group under the most appropriate Principal Committee; and
  • any related matters.
The Radiation Oncology Jurisdictional Implementation Group (ROJIG) was established with a s principal purpose to respond to the 2002 Baume Report. This Report was a catalyst for action, on the part of governments and the profession, for wide spread reform of the sector. The Report’s key findings regarding the radiation oncology sector included:
  • insufficient capacity;
  • outdated equipment;
  • insufficient and disenfranchised workforce; and
  • no formal quality assurance framework.
Following the development of the ROJIG Final Report (September 2003), AHMAC supported the development of RORIC to implement the agreed objectives of states, territories and commonwealth governments. More than 10 years on from that Report, there has been ongoing and significant investment and achievements by state and territory governments, the Commonwealth, the private sector and the profession to enhance delivery of radiotherapy service.

More recently, RORIC’s role has been providing direction on radiotherapy issues more generally, as well as becoming the primary mechanism for collaboration between jurisdictions and other key stakeholders.

The Final Report on the Review of the Second Tier of AHMAC Committees recommended a significant reduction in the number of second tier committees of the Hospitals Principal Committee (HPC). In recommending the abolition of RORIC, the Report noted the need for mechanisms to maintain communication and collaboration between jurisdictions and other stakeholders, but was of the view that such a function does not in itself warrant the maintenance of either a Standing Committee or even a time-limited Working Group. The Report concluded that any matters of substance from within the scope of these Working groups to be abolished can be raised direct to the HPC for consideration on a case by case basis.

At its meeting on 31 August 2012, AHMAC made the decision to discontinue RORIC.

Current activities that will continue post-RORIC

Some activities that are underway by RORIC will continue to progress following RORIC’s discontinuation. These are:
  • Development and consideration of options regarding the future operation of a national dosimetry audit program following the results of the ACDS evaluation - Commonwealth
  • Development and consideration of options for implementation of assessment against the Radiation Oncology Practice Standards - Commonwealth
  • Areas of need analysis - Commonwealth
  • A network will be established to continue dialogue on workforce issues - Jurisdictions
  • A network will also be established to continue dialogue on service planning - Jurisdictions
An MBS review of radiation oncology will be undertaken, which may provide the opportunity to align radiation oncology services with contemporary practice, examine treatment trends and encourage best clinical care for cancer patients. The scope of this review includes development of a strategic approach to the evaluation and uptake of new techniques and technologies, and arrangements for the collaborative management of Commonwealth funding for radiation oncology services. Information on this review will be available on the Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) website.

Any other matters of substance from within the scope of RORIC can be raised direct to the HPC for consideration on a case by case basis.

RORIC has agreed to write to HPC to provide them with a status report on its Work plan, and a copy of each of its sub-committee reports.

Conclusion of RORIC

RORIC wishes to convey its thanks to everyone who has contributed to its significant outcomes since its inception. This includes, but is not limited to:
  • RORIC members, past and present;
  • RORIC sub-committee members, past and present; and
  • The RORIC secretariat, provided by the Commonwealth Government.
If you would like further information about RORIC please contact the Department of Health.