An effective system of clinical governance in the delivery of cancer therapy is essential to ensure the safety and quality of care. Governance defines clear lines of accountability and responsibility, ensures appropriate oversight of policy and procedures and provides a mechanism to continuously improve safety.
Consumer participation in the governance process can improve the design of systems and procedures that are followed.
Each healthcare facility should have its own governance committee and framework to provide direction and clear instruction on working practices for all team members involved in the delivery of cancer medications. The clinical governance committee should include consumer input.
Policies and procedures should be approved by a relevant governance committee, which may include the facilities Drug and Therapeutics Committee. All documents must include a specified review date and mechanisms must be in place to update procedures and policies regularly.
All team members should have access to and be familiar with the content of the policies and procedures including updated versions.
A mechanism should be in place that enables regular review and audit of practices and encourages a culture of continuous safety and quality improvement.
Policies and procedures should be stored electronically in a read-only format to avoid unapproved or undetectable alterations.
Printing copies of procedures and protocols that are available electronically should be minimised with staff encouraged to use electronic sources. This avoids the possible use of superseded documents when a newer version is issued. Any printed material should be annotated with the date of printing. A useful statement to add as a footnote is: All printed copies of this document are considered uncontrolled copies. Printed copies are only valid for the day printed.
When policies and procedures are being circulated for update or review the document should be annotated with a watermark to clearly identify that it has not been approved.
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