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Can J Surg. 2004 Aug;47(4):270-6.

Improving cancer surgery in Ontario: recommendations from a strategic planning retreat.

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Cancer Care Ontario, tPICEPS Consultants, Inc., Toronto, Ont.



The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care mandated a rapid and thorough change in the delivery of cancer services in Ontario to integrate ambulatory services offered by Cancer Care Ontario (CCO) with the inpatient services of affiliated hospitals. The CCO Surgical Oncology Program held a strategic planning retreat to establish the basis upon which to implement surgery-specific changes.


Participants completed a pre-retreat survey. Based on survey results, the retreat was organized around 4 themes: role of the Surgical Oncology Program; knowledge transfer; funding for cancer surgery; and research priorities. These topics were discussed in small breakout groups and by the entire assembly.


Retreat participants (n = 55) included hospital CEOs, vice-presidents of cancer services, surgeons from cancer centres and community hospitals, academic chairs of surgery, clinician researchers and managers from CCO. Responses to the pre-retreat survey (n = 38) and recommendations made by retreat participants showed strong support for the Surgical Oncology Program to take a leadership role in the development and monitoring of quality indicators, research related to cancer surgery and the creation of regional communities of practice. Funding mechanisms for cancer surgeons and hospitals performing cancer surgery were also highlighted.


The Surgical Oncology Program used the results to develop a strategic plan that was approved by retreat participants and the board of the CCO. The program has embarked on a multifaceted approach to facilitate, monitor and report on the organization and delivery of cancer surgery in Ontario.

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