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Collaborative approach to increase screening rates

A Cancer Screening Collaborative Project that supports the design and implementation of quality improvement activities within General Practice is being facilitated by Gippsland Primary Health Network (PHN).

Funded by the Victorian Government as part of the Latrobe Health Innovation Zone, the Latrobe Cancer Screening Collaborative consists of four General Practice clinics which have committed to a 10-month program aimed at increasing the screening rates for breast, bowel and cervical cancers among Latrobe Valley residents.

Currently in Latrobe, more than 5,000 eligible women are not up to date with their breast screen, approximately 10,000 eligible women are not up to date with their cervical screen and more than 12,000 eligible men and women are not up to date with their at-home bowel screening test.

To increase these screening rates, quality improvement activities will be implemented which can assist in increasing a person’s knowledge and beliefs to be accurate and encouraging rather than discouraging.

The Latrobe Cancer Screening Collaborative aims to turn principles of improvement into action through shared learnings. General Practice teams are encouraged to work together to trial solutions using small manageable change cycles, measuring the impact of the changes and reflecting on and sharing what is or isn’t working. This approach allows practices to learn from each about the factors that influence participation in population-based screening.

Changes trialled by the clinics can take various forms. Clinics are encouraged to try new and innovative ways to encourage, remind and assist patients to undertake their cancer screens. Through this process, General Practitioners are encouraged to talk to patients about the importance of early detection, emphasising their role in preventative health.

Gippsland PHN Chief Executive Officer, Amanda Proposch, said by implementing small changes and sharing ideas, the collaborative methodology provided a great opportunity for General Practice clinics to collectively increase cancer screening rates across the Latrobe Valley.

Recent research by MMResearch, as a part of Gippsland PHN Latrobe Health Innovation Zone: Early Detection and Screening including Tobacco Program, found the Latrobe Valley community valued a General Practitioner’s advice and guidance when it came to preventative health measures.

“There is great weight placed in what GPs do and/or don’t say,” Ms Proposch said. “The GP has an impact on an individual decision to take action and carry out these early detection screens.

“It is important that General Practice clinics recognise their role in encouraging and facilitating these early detection cancer screens to assist the Latrobe Valley to become more vigilant about their preventative health.”.

The Latrobe Cancer Screen Collaborative is just one of the many projects within the Latrobe Health Innovation Zone, Early Detection and Screening, Including Tobacco Program that is working towards increasing the rates of cancer screening within Latrobe Valley.

Participating General Practice clinics of the collaborative include:

Tanjil Place Medical

Hillcrest

Breed Street

Central Gippsland Family Practice

Breast Screening:

Phone Breastscreen Victoria on 13 20 50 to make an appointment or register online via breastscreen.org.au

Cervical Screening:

Speak to your doctor to arrange a cervical screening test. Call 13 15 56 or visit cervicalscreening.org.au for more information

Bowel Screening:

Speak to your doctor or call the National Bowel Cancer Screening information line on 1800 118 868 to arrange a free at home bowel test