Together Against Cancer: the United Kingdom

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Cancer Workforce Fund Launch

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Watch Andreas Charalambous, ECO Past-president and founder of the European Cancer Community Foundation and CEO Mike Morrissey live on GB News, presenting the launch of the Cancer Workforce Fund on 4 April at the Mansion House in London. They addressed the pressing issues brought by the Cancer Workforce Crisis in the UK and Europe.

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The shortage of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, pathologists and other professionals involved in cancer care is placing immense strains on healthcare systems and negatively affecting patient care. While governmental and institutional policies try to address the workforce challenge, financial backing is essential to bolster efforts to take practical action.

On 4 April 2024, the European Cancer Community Foundation launched the Cancer Workforce Fund to support on-the ground projects in the healthcare and community setting, providing meaningful solutions to the current workforce crisis. By supporting projects to explore new processes, apply new innovations and improve working conditions of those on the frontlines of cancer care, we enable them to remain focused on their mission: providing the best possible care for their patients.

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The video above shows how the team of Mirjam Crul, Co-Chair of the ECO Workforce Network, is working on a new method to make it easier for patients to receive chemotherapy at home. This is one of the many possibilities for this fund.

The Lord Mayor of The City of London, Michael Mainelli, hosted the launch at the Mansion House in London on 4 April 2024. The speakers included:

  • Andreas Charalambous, Founder and Chair, European Cancer Community Foundation, Immediate Past-President, European Cancer Organisation and Founder, and Professor at the Cyprus University of Technology;
  • Kathy Oliver, Patient Advisory Committee Co-Chair, European Cancer Organisation (ECO) and Co-Director, International Brain Tumour Alliance (IBTA);
  • Ajay Aggarwal, Consultant Clinical Oncologist, Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Trust, Professor Cancer Services and Systems Research, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Board Member of the European Cancer Organisation;
  • Mark Lawler, Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Professor of Digital Health, and Chair in Translational Cancer Genomics, Queen's University Belfast (QUB) and Chair of the International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership;
  • Nicolò Matteo Luca Battisti, Consultant Medical Oncologist, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, Co-Chair and President, International Society of Geriatric Oncology (SIOG) and Co-Chair of the Inequalities Network, European Cancer Organisation;
  • Ann Slee, Former Associate Chief Clinical Information Officer (medicines) NHS England, Senior Advisor to Digital Health and Care Wales;
  • Candice Blackwood, Partner Co-Head Life Sciences & Healthcare, CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang;
  • Ed O’Brien, Senior Director EMEA Healthcare, BNP Paribas Real Estate.

UK Falling behind Europe in the fight against cancer

On a variety of fronts, the UK is underperforming

In the fight against cancer, the United Kingdom has a long history of leadership. New data released today, however, paint a very different and troubling picture.

The much anticipated 'UK Country Report', part of a vast dataset compiled by the European Cancer Organisation (ECO) and its digital resource, the European Cancer Pulse, reveals a lack of collaboration between the UK and the EU on health policy and highlights several core issues within the UK's own health systems.

Key issues outlined by the report, developed in collaboration with Cancer Research UK, include:

  • England lacks a dedicated Cancer Control Plan, considered an essential benchmark for all European countries to implement cancer policy.
  • No UK nation is on-track to reach their ‘smokefree’ targets of less than 5% tobacco smokers[1].
  • Obesity is the second-biggest cause of cancer in the UK. Yet, the UK has a higher childhood obesity rate than any other Western European country - more than twice the rate of France for instance, and little is being done to address this.
  • The UK has a higher rate of cancer cases than Europe, on average, but proportionally fewer cancer workers and less equipment to treat them, with widespread shortages across cancer professions throughout the UK.

You can now download the UK Country Report.

Get involved!

If you wish to donate to the fund, please access the European Cancer Community Foundation website and indicate ‘WorkforceFund’ in the description of your donation.

Find out more about the Time to Accelerate: for Our Workforce campaign here.

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Previous activities in London

The Value of Cancer Plans: ECO provides evidence to UK House of Commons Inquiry

On 9 January 2024, the European Cancer Organisation (ECO) provided evidence to the UK Parliament’s House of Commons Health Select Committee and its inquiry into ‘Future Cancer’.

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The Inquiry is investigating "... the innovations with the greatest potential to transform cancer diagnosis and treatment for patients in the short, medium and long term, and it will examine how innovations in diagnosing and treating cancer can best be transitioned into frontline clinical settings. It will also explore international examples of best practice.”

Both ECO and the American Society of Clinical Oncology were invited to give oral evidence at a hearing of the Committee. You can find more information on our Policy page

After the hearing, ECO met with Paul Bristow MP who is a member of National & European Parliamentarians for Cancer Action.

Mark Lawler Paul Bristow MP UK 

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