Peter Mac’s Director of Wellbeing Geraldine McDonald has been awarded a 2017 Churchill Fellowship, sponsored by the Jack Brockhoff Foundation. It will allow Ms McDonald to attend international patient experience forums and tour some of the world’s major cancer hospitals, to study their use of patient navigators and see how this could be adopted in Australia.

“Patient Navigation is a relatively new concept in cancer care in Australia, involving a person who acts as a central point of contact for a hospital and who provides guidance to a patient as they move through the health system,” Ms McDonald says.

“They empower people to engage in their health care as active participants and assist in navigating through increasingly complex health and social service systems.

“I am really excited about this opportunity to learn first-hand from leading organisations around the world the best approach to establishing this model of care,” she said.

Patient Navigators are widely used across the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom where they have been shown to improve access to care, enhance care co-ordination and overcome barriers to timely high-quality health service delivery.

They reduce the rate of missed appointments by patients and also free-up nurses from organisational tasks.

Over the last 20 years, the Jack Brockhoff Foundation has sponsored Churchill Fellowships to inspire people from Victoria working in the area of social disadvantage including disability or in health and medical practice to strive for excellence for the benefit of the community.

It is part of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, established in 1965 to honour the memory of Sir Winston Churchill, which offers people from all walks of life the opportunity to travel overseas to gain new knowledge and insights and bring that back to Australia to positively impact our community.

Churchill Fellowship recipients get fully funded international travel for up to 8 weeks.

“Geraldine’s Churchill Fellowship is on an important topic that will likely affect every Australian in one way or another during their lifetime,” said Adam Davey, CEO of the Winston Churchill Memorial trust.

“Her work could lead to the design of Australia's first consumer led patient navigation model of cancer care, ultimately improving cancer outcomes for all Australians.”

In its 2017 round, a total of 109 Churchill Fellowships were awarded – worth over $2.8 million – to 26 people from NSW, 21 from Victoria, 18 from Queensland, 13 from WA, eight from the ACT, nine from South Australia, seven from Tasmania and seven from the NT.