Grimshaw Street Medical Centre is a multi-disciplinary general practice in Bundoora. Its workforce comprises 6 GPs, 2 registered nurses, a team of allied health professionals and reception staff. The practice sits within the Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network (EMPHN) catchment area.
The clinic, alongside 80 others, joined the state-wide expansion of the Maximising cancer screening outreach in primary care settings in response to COVID-19 quality improvement (QI) project, successfully piloted in the North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network (NWMPHN) region in 2021.
During its 3-month QI project, the team focused on increasing patient participation in, and awareness of, bowel and cervical cancer screening.
To ensure success, all clinical and administrative staff were involved. Improvement ideas were driven by one of the GPs and a practice nurse.
Photo (left to right): Priyanka Rai (practice nurse), Jennifer Nota (administration officer), Dr Piratheepan Mahalingham (GP), Asha Parekhatt (practice nurse) and Sarah Vaafusuaga (administration officer).
Outcomes and practical lessons
Bowel cancer The project emphasised to GPs and patients the importance of using the National Cancer Screening Register to help promote easier and more accessible home screening. To assist with this the practice developed A3 posters to promote awareness.
Cervical screening To help promote self-collection, 10 kits were allocated to each consultation room to use with patients eligible or overdue for screening. The team also rang a number of eligible patients to offer them the choice of self-collection or a GP consultation. Posters were placed around the practice to raise awareness.
Patients appreciated the efforts to promote the importance of cancer screening. Improvements were seen in the data, using Polar, especially in relation to cervical screening, and the best results in screening participation were after face-to-face consultations.
Primary health network (PHN) support
Grimshaw Street Medical Centre credited the support received from EMPHN as part of the success of the project. EMPHN assisted by providing links to online resources, including the Gpex Modules, specifically developed for this project, and various tips about QI improvement ideas at a practice level.
If you would like to learn more about how your practice can improve cancer screening, including access free online clinical education modules, visit the NWMPHN website.