Oesophagogastric Cancer Redesign Program

Oesophagogastric (OG) cancer is a small volume cancer type with approximately 588 people diagnosed with stomach cancer and 395 people diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in Victoria in 2017.  Survival rate is poor with only 22% of patients with OG cancer and 30% of patients with stomach cancer surviving for five years or more. 

The poor survival rates for these cancers was a focus of the Victorian Tumour Summit where state-wide data were reviewed and unwarranted variation from optimal care was discussed. Apparent variations were further investigated at a health service level via a coordinated state-wide audit (Victorian OG Cancer Audit – 2017).  Outcomes of this provided baseline data for the OG Redesign Program, a state-wide project, led by NEMICS.  

  1. Alfred Health
  2. Austin Health
  3. Barwon Health
  4. Bendigo Health
  5. Eastern Health
  6. Monash Health
  7. St Vincent's Health
  8. Western Health

The program ran from 2018 to June 2019 at eight health services across Victoria.


1.  Increase the number of patients with a new diagnosis of OG cancer discussed at an multidisciplinary meeting (MDM) for treatment planning to 85% by the end of 2018, and
2.  Commencement of treatment within 42 days of receipt of referral as recommended in the optimal care pathway for people with OG cancer.


1.  Addressing MDM presentation rates 

  • An increase in MDM presentation rates for newly diagnosed OG cancer patients from 76% (range 39% to 91%) to 93% (range 73% to 98%) was achieved.  This was 7% more than the Program target of 85%.  
  • MDM Terms of Reference were reviewed and updated at all participating health services
  • A reduction in the number of patients with multiple MDM presentations
  • An increase in the number of patients diagnosed with State IV/metastatic OG cancer presented at MDM for treatment planning 
  • Where fortnightly MDMs fall on a public holiday additional meetings have been scheduled.  This will prevent lengthy delays for discussion of newly diagnosed cases of OG cancer for treatment planning

2.  Addressing treatment timelines:

  • Data is suggesting a trend toward increasing the number of patients who receive their care within the recommended 42 days for optimal patient care.  At baseline 63% of patients were meeting the timeline, which increased to 66% at program completion.  The outer range reduced by over 100 days, from 357 to 245 days.  
  • Health services reviewed their GP referral information and templates to ensure the ‘Red Flags’ for OG cancer are included assisting triage staff to fast track patients at risk of cancer.
  • Individual health service triage and referral pathways and processes have been reviewed and updated where needed.
  • Health services adopted a number of strategies to address the challenge of meeting the 14-day timeline from MDM to treatment.  These include: 
    *  diagnostics completed prior to MDM
    *  early referral to Medical Oncology; and
    *  referrals generated at MDM are completed at the meeting

3.  Four projects increased information provision to patients through the provision of ‘My Cancer Care Record’, the OG ‘What to Expect Guide’, CCV information and locally produced OG cancer information.

For further information about the Program, contact Melissa Shand OG Redesign Program Manager on email: melissa.shand@austin.org.au or 03 9496 3831.


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