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The impact of COVID-19 on cancer services


Cancer Australia has undertaken an analysis of MBS data on cancer-related medical services and procedures to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer.

Substantial reductions in medical services and procedures relating to cancer investigations and treatment have been reported by service providers in Australia in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cancer Australia has undertaken an analysis of a range of services reimbursed through the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) for the months January 2020 to June 2020 to understand where any reductions in cancer-related services have occurred, and the types of services affected.

Analyses focussed on:

  • MBS item numbers for cancer-related diagnostic and treatment procedures
  • New telehealth MBS items available during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The findings are published in the following reports:

Initial analyses showed national reductions in total monthly services for diagnostic and therapeutic procedures during the initial COVID-19 period between March and May 2020. The monthly data for some services showed an initial recovery in May, with many services showing further recovery in numbers by June 2020.