Korean delegation visits Centre for Health Service Development

The Director of UOW’s Centre for Health Service Development (CHSD), Professor Kathy Eagar, yesterday (1 February) hosted four visitors working within the palliative care sector in Korea.

Chief of Hospice and Palliative Care Branch at the National Cancer Centre in Korea, Dr Dong Wook Shin, first met Professor Eagar at the International Palliative Care Conference in Perth in September 2009 after Professor Eagar’s presentation on the Palliative Care Outcomes Collaboration (PCOC).

PCOC is one of the sub-centres of CHSD and is a national voluntary quality initiative to assist palliative care service providers to improve their practice. The aim of PCOC is to develop and support a national benchmarking system that will contribute to improved palliative care outcomes.

Dr Shin was keen for the opportunity to learn more about the practical aspects of PCOC’s operation. A visit to Australia was soon organised and Dr Shin was accompanied by Ms Jin Young Choi, a researcher also at the National Cancer Centre, Ms Jung Hoe Kim, Senior Researcher at the Health Insurance Review Agency, and Ms Sung Hee Kim, Assistant Director, Division of Cancer Control Policy at the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Family Affairs.

According to Dr Shin, services provided by the different palliative care units and hospices are not well standardised in Korea and there is also a huge variation in their policies and practices.

Furthermore, the quality seems to widely vary among the services, he said.

Dr Shin acknowledged the need for Korea to develop firstly a national standards for palliative care organisations and secondly a quality evaluation and support system.

The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Family Affair has granted Dr Shin a research project for those purposes.

Dr Shin found that the “Australian experience of PCOC could be of great help and a good benchmark for developing its own system.”

The delegation is also visiting Canberra and Brisbane to meet other palliative care programs and services.