Statewide chemotherapy system

The Marshall Liberal Government is one step closer to delivering a new cancer prescribing IT system aimed at preventing a repeat of the former Labor Government’s chemotherapy underdosing bungle.

An invitation to tender today opened for a single, statewide electronic cancer information and prescribing system.

The Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said the Enterprise Chemotherapy Prescribing System (ECPS) was promised by Labor in 2010 but never implemented.

“The lack of an electronic prescribing system was one of a number of contributing factors in the chemotherapy dosing bungle of 2014 and 2015 that saw ten leukaemia patients receive half doses of chemotherapy,” Minister Wade said.

The tender process comes as the Deputy State Coroner Anthony Schapel prepares his findings into the deaths of four patients underdosed during their chemotherapy treatment at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and the Flinders Medical Centre.

“Today’s development is the next step in implementing the new prescribing IT system, which was one of the Marshall Team’s election commitments,” Minister Wade said.

“The IT system will improve patient safety in the chemotherapy prescribing process and makes it easier to manage a patient’s treatment remotely.

“Currently, cancer care and prescribing services vary across the 21 public metropolitan and country treatment sites in South Australia.”

“We are committed to providing safe access to chemotherapy medication for patients but to do so, recognise that a single prescription system needs to be implemented.

“From today, we are going to market to identify vendors that will be able to create a statewide system to support safe chemotherapy prescribing processes.

“The introduction of a state-wide system will ensure cancer patients, no matter where they are being treated, will benefit from improved oncology quality of care.

“A statewide approach will also standardise prescribing across all sites, reducing the risk of adverse events relating to chemotherapy.”

The creation and specifications of the ECPS will be guided by advice from specialist doctors, nurses and pharmacists, who have already been working together to identify the requirements of the system.

Minister Wade said the ECPS is part of the Marshall Liberal Government’s commitment to improving and expanding country cancer services.

“Ultimately, we want to ensure that all patients, no matter where they reside, have access to the best cancer treatment and services available,” the Minister said.

The tender for the ECPS will be open for eight weeks, with a successful vendor expected to be selected in the first half of 2019.

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