Eliminating barriers to surgical cancer care for vulnerable and underserviced populations

A strategic priority of the Pan-Canadian action plan for optimizing cancer surgical care

Improving access to care includes providing better services and care to underserviced populations in a timely fashion. This involves identifying vulnerable and underserviced populations and providing culturally appropriate care. Respectful and responsive surgical care will meet the needs of vulnerable and underserviced populations and mitigate variations in cancer care and outcomes in the Canadian context.

Calls to action to improve cancer surgery

The Canadian Network of Surgical Associations for Cancer Care (CANSACC) believes a special focus on underserviced populations is needed for better access to care—and the following calls to action require the active support of the Partnership and other stakeholders:

  • We call on cancer programs to partner with provincial/territorial ministries of health and organizations responsible for healthcare providers (e.g., College of Family Physicians of Canada) to create a strategy to eliminate barriers to timely, quality cancer surgery for vulnerable and underserviced populations.
  • We call on provincial/territorial ministries of health and cancer programs to work with the Partnership and the Canadian Institute for Health Information to identify vulnerable patients at risk for negative outcomes, and to continue to develop and adopt appropriate patient surgical pathways and monitor compliance.
  • We call on provincial/territorial ministries of health to fund and support rapid diagnostic programs with transparent pathways and timeframes to minimize surgical delays due to the length of cancer-specific diagnostic work-ups and to mitigate care variation.
  • We call on the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) to further enhance training to maintain certification for surgeons to provide equitable, culturally appropriate care.
  • We call on provincial/territorial ministries of health to work with the Society of Rural Physicians to offer training and education to address the delivery of rural care, and to support the Rural Road Map for Action, which provides a framework for a pan-Canadian approach to rural health-care planning. The goal is to build capacity, to strengthen physician workforce with the competencies and skills to provide high-quality and culturally safe care, enhance networks of care and ensure appropriate supports are in place to provide care closer to home.