The European CanCer Organisation (ECCO) has published a new position statement Integrated Cancer Care: Bringing Primary Care and Secondary Care Together. Unifying the views of its 25 pan-European member organisations, the statement emphasises the necessity of achieving integrated care to improve outcomes for cancer patients. The gaps in communication and care that cancer patients too often encounter when transferring between hospital and home can no longer remain unaddressed.
To improve communication between all care providers and healthcare professionals involved in treating a cancer patient, ECCO and its member organisations call for:
- A multidisciplinary and patient-centric approach to integrated cancer care, in order to achieve best outcomes and quality of care for patients
- Predefined coordination of the total care process, with clearly defined roles and responsibilities for all involved healthcare professionals
- Investment in information technology and integration of healthcare professional education as means of underpinning improved communication between professions involved in the cancer patient’s treatment journey
- The development of integration models that reflect the differing patient needs associated with different cancer types (such as set out in the ECCO Essential Requirements for Quality Cancer Care documents)
Ian Banks, Chair of the ECCO Patient Advisory Committee (PAC) and President of the European Men’s Health Forum (EMHF) said: “When it comes to patient centricity, ECCO has once again set the bar for others to reach. Fully recognising and integrating primary care into the cancer management pathway is essential and logical. It is also doing what most patients want, a return to ‘normality’. Real life care in the community better addresses co-morbidities, allowing the increasing number of citizens with cancer to get on with their extended survivorship. The question is, will EU member states, with their diverse healthcare systems, be able and willing to implement?”
Integration of care requires a cohesive collaborative effort at all levels of healthcare delivery. Therefore, to help meet the universal challenge faced by European health systems in achieving integrated care, ECCO and its Patient Advisory Committee is now working with counterpart organisations representing healthcare professionals in the primary and community care sectors to articulate essential requirements to achieve integrated care.
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