Providing cancer services to remote and rural areas: consensus study

Lesley Ann Stevenson, Neil Crawford Campbell, Peter Alexander Kiehlmann

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11 Citations (Scopus)


There is controversy about how cancer care should be provided to patients in remote and rural areas. The aim of this project was to measure consensus among health professionals who treat rural patients with cancer about priorities for cancer care. A modified Delphi process was used. Of 78 health professionals in Grampian, 62 responded (79%). Of 49 items suggested, there was agreement on 26 (53%), encompassing fast access to diagnosis, high-quality specialist treatment, and well-coordinated delivery of care with good and fast communication and effective team working between all health professionals involved. Specialist oncology nurses in local hospitals were considered a priority along with good facilities, accommodation, and transport for patients. There was no agreement on the best location for chemotherapy ( local or central). The only large difference of opinion between participants based in primary and secondary care concerned chemotherapy provision at local community hospitals ( primary care was in favour, hospital practitioners against, P<0.001). In making their decisions, participants took problems of access into account, but were also concerned with quality of care and feasibility in the current health service. Our findings show that more evidence is needed regarding the balance of risks and benefits of local chemotherapy provision. Overall, however, there is agreement on many principles for cancer care that could be translated into practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)821-827
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • cancer care
  • rural health services
  • consensus method
  • CARE


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