The current shortages within the healthcare workforce are having a profound impact on the dedicated men and women on the frontlines of cancer care in Europe. Doctors, nurses, pharmacists – they are all struggling to cope. More and more of them report unsustainable burnout, forcing them to leave their professions. Those who remain are given more responsibilities, larger caseloads, and ever-taller stacks of paperwork, resulting in even less time with patients. Mistakes under these conditions are inevitable, and care is being compromised.
From bad to worse:
The World Health Organization reported that more than 40% of physicians in Europe will be retiring within the next 5 years (source) - and that was before Covid-19. The unprecedented disruptions caused by the pandemic put new, unimaginable strains on an already fragile cancer workforce, strains that continue to grow throughout Europe.
This must stop. And it's up to us to help stop it!
The European Cancer Organisation, its member societies and supporting community, are embarking on a major new initiative and we invite you, your organisations and networks, to join us on this pan-European campaign which will be launched at the European Cancer Summit.
This effort is focused on changing policies within national governments and medical institutions to improve working conditions for cancer professionals throughout Europe. Together, we need to document the full extent of the crisis, assemble more and better data, case studies of impact, and best practices and policy recommendations to highlight and promote.
This is an urgent call to action. For starters, we need to hear directly from healthcare providers. Tell us your stories and how the crisis has impacted you, your work, and your colleagues. How has it affected patient care? Change cannot happen unless everyone understands the true scope of the problem.
Please submit one or more of your narratives to Workforce@europeancancer.org.
You can also sign up with the above email address to join one or more of the project's three areas of focus, below:
Through the creation of a joint multidisciplinary survey on cancer workforce shortages and working conditions. The distribution of this survey across Europe and follow-up extrapolation, calibration, and modelling work, will generate landmark new data on key issues and inform the campaign’s messaging. We invite all interested individuals and organisations to submit any relevant data here.
This workstream will identify categories and case studies for focus, covering issues such as patient and healthcare professional impacts.
This workstream will identify best practice and innovation for focus, covering issues such as workforce planning, retention policies, reduction of bureaucracy and the expanded use of digital technology. We invite all interested individuals and organisations to submit their examples of best practice and innovation by answering to the survey here.