As a provincial program of the Nova Scotia Department of Health, Cancer Care Nova Scotia has a mandate to set and monitor standards. Standards outline how a service will be provided – the types of qualifications staff must have, the equipment required, the processes to be used.
CCNS has developed standards in several areas, particularly addressing the safe delivery of chemotherapy, quality assurance in cytology labs and standards for screening colonoscopies conducted on behalf of the Colon Cancer Prevention Program.
Once the need for a standard has been identified, CCNS creates a working group consisting of the appropriate clinicians and other experts from Nova Scotia. The standard development process includes investigating existing standards in place in other facilities, provinces or countries, and reviewing and adapting them to meet the situation in Nova Scotia as necessary. Where there are no existing standards, the working group will review the literature and develop recommendations for “best practice”.
Draft standards are circulated to a larger group of practitioners within and outside Nova Scotia as appropriate for review and feedback. The final drafts are then approved by the appropriate working group or committee.