‘Stronger Together’ is a mantra much in mind as we start the exciting work of coordinating the new network of the European Cancer Organisation focused on Quality Cancer Care. For this reason, like for other Networks, the very first activity we undertook was an exercise in listening. Listening to each of the interested societies participating in this new style of collaboration.
We are learning from, cataloguing and studying the range of excellent initiatives these organisations have already undertaken to promote better quality of cancer care in their domain. Alongside this, we heard the hopes and aspirations of Member Societies and representatives from the Patient Advisory Committee about what they consider the new Network might achieve.
This is a bottom up approach in practice. It means spending the time to provide all organisations within the Network with an equal say in the direction we take, in line with the ambitions we seek to achieve.
What can not be ignored on this call was the depth of concern expressed about the reversing impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to have upon some of the gains made in quality cancer care. We took note of all these testimonies and reports related to damaging effects recorded on prevention, screening, treatment, research and supportive care related to oncology. With the European Cancer Organisation already conveying representations to the European Commission on these matters, these fresh inputs were immediately further amplified after the call. We feel this is a telling example of the power of networks to open up fresh collaboration opportunities, and to result in potentially unplanned, and yet highly purposeful, action and initiative.
An interesting exchange was also held with Community 365. We heard from Community 365 about their initiatives and main strategies in the quality space. In exchange we informed them about upcoming outputs related to Quality Cancer Care, such as future publications from the Essential Requirements for Quality Cancer Care series and the European Code of Cancer Practice.
During June, we will share more information and plans with the Network concerning actions to be undertaken and the strategy based on assessment of synergies of interest as well as gaps identified during the first mapping exercise of priorities and initiatives already underway. We aim to showcase the initiatives of Member Societies on Quality Cancer Care on the new website in a standardised format to encourage interactions between societies, and then to build on a limited number of quality projects together.
With a first Beating Cancer Plan of the EU in development, alongside an EU Cancer Mission, and now with the COVID challenge to be responded to, it feels like no better moment in time to join forces on Quality Cancer Care. We thank all Member Societies, the Patient Advisory Committee and others for the energy and optimism that fuels what we do.