Moving towards achieving the vision of Zero Lives Lost to Blood Cancer by 2035
Australia’s first-ever Blood Cancer Taskforce and the Federal Minister for Health, Greg Hunt MP, met in Canberra last November to discuss the priorities and next steps for the group as they work to conquer blood cancer and fulfil that vision.
By June this year, they’ll deliver the National Action Plan for Blood Cancer (the Action plan) and provide the blueprint to tackle key issues facing people affected by these diseases.
The Taskforce membership includes 29 of Australia’s leading haematologists and researchers, along with patients and members of the blood cancer community.
There also are seven expert Working Groups within the taskforce which met over January and February, which means almost 100 experts are now focusing on key priorities that were identified in the State of the Nation: Blood Cancer in Australia report. They include:
- Achieving best practice
- Optimal care pathways and clinical guidelines
- Patient reported outcomes
- Supportive care
- Accelerating research
- Enabling access
External review panels for the Action Plan
Producing the Action Plan and ensuring it represents the needs of people living with blood cancer is a truly collaborative effort.
Throughout the process of developing the Action Plan, we are keeping the needs of people living with blood cancer at the centre of our work. We want to ensure the voice of people living with blood cancer is embedded in every step along the way – and while our Taskforce and Working Groups include patients, we are formalising the input of people living with blood cancer and their carers and families.
Alongside the Taskforce and Working Groups, the Action Plan will also undergo review and refinement from a patient panel and a regional panel.
A call-out on our disease-specific Facebook groups for people living with blood cancer and their carers to help review and refine the draft Action Plan received a response from more than 90 people, which shows the tremendous investment our community has in this work.
Volunteers selected from this group and representatives from Rare Cancers Australia, Lymphoma Australia, the MPN Alliance, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Snowdome now form a panel of 30-plus people who are ready and willing to ensure we’re on the right track.
This is a truly representative body – men and women, younger through to older, parents and carers, with different blood cancer subtypes, and from across the country – who will review a draft of the Action Plan.
The work of the Blood Cancer Taskforce highlighted a specific area of need – that of people living with blood cancer in rural and remote areas of Australia experience poorer outcomes because of where they live.
Addressing this gap is a priority, and we will ensure the Action Plan appropriately reflects the specific needs and challenges of these people, and to do this we have set up an expert regional review panel to apply that lens.
The State of the Nation report was an important first step in achieving the goal of Zero Lives Lost to Blood Cancer by 2035, and the Action Plan is just the second.
With the right people, the right vision, and determination we will conquer blood cancer by 2035. Find out more about those priorities.