Workforce Network

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Cancer care and treatment are simply not possible without the cancer workforce. At the European level, there is much that can be progressed in respect to such issues: as elevating training and development; promoting labour mobility and professional qualification recognition; and safeguarding working conditions.

For these reasons and more, we have established a Network on Workforce matters to bring together professions and others to speak as one about the unaddressed policy needs at the European level that could help ensure the right of every cancer patient to specialised multidisciplinary cancer care  is upheld and made a reality. 

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Panel discussion at the European Cancer Summit 2020 session on “Preparing a Resilient Oncology Workforce for the Present and Future”.

Co-Chairs Andreas Charalambous, Mirjam Crul  and Geerard Beets are currently overseeing the creation of a new consensus position paper of Europe’s cancer professions covering such pressing topics as:

  • How to address the growing problem of workforce shortages in cancer care
  • The unrealised opportunities for stimulating oncology professional qualification recognition and mobility in Europe
  • Evident inequalities in educational opportunities
  • Ensuring the safety of healthcare workers in cancer care
  • Providing attention to work-life balance concerns

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Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, in conversation with Andreas Charalambous, President-Elect of the European Cancer Organisation and the Network Co-Chair, at the European Cancer Summit 2020 session on “Preparing a Resilient Oncology Workforce for the Present and Future”.

As part of the preparation of this consensus paper, the European Cancer Summit featured a session on “Preparing a Resilient Oncology Workforce for the Present and Future”

Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, highlighted the importance of healthcare worker protection, workforce training and access to the labour market for people who have had cancer and recovered.

Lynda Wyld, Professor of Surgical Oncology at the University of Sheffield and representing the European Society of Surgical Oncology (ESSO), expressed the advances brought about by sub specialisation in professions such as oncology surgery. An example in this respect is breast cancer surgery. More European approaches to supporting these developments would be welcomed.

Kathi Apostolidis, President of the European Cancer Patient Coalition, reminded that the best cancer treatment requires several specialists, and innovation is not just about new medicines but also advances in surgery, radiotherapy, pathology, and nursing.

Alexandru Eniu, Chair of the College of the European School of Oncology, conveyed that the rapid advances in oncology that occur mean the continuity and quality of oncology education is essential. Improvements in education and training also provide a ready means to help close the East—West divide in cancer care.

Nicolás González Casares MEP, a nurse and Member of the European Parliament, raised the importance of shared standards and multidisciplinary care, and a framework to allow the recognition and movement of doctors, nurses and researchers for both work and training.

A resolution was passed on the importance of recognising professional qualifications:

“Ensuring the access of cancer patients to specialised multi-professional care should be as high a priority for countries, and international organisations such as the EU and WHO, as ensuring patient access to products and technologies.

Therefore, a fundamental tool for the delivery of EU ambitions on improving cancer care should be the Professional Qualifications Directive. The Directive should be proactively deployed to support specialisms in cancer care in harmonising education and training requirements and increasing the mobility of vital skills and experience in cancer care across Europe.”

  • Find out more on the 2020 European Cancer Summit here.
  • Watch the session recordings and access valuable resources here.
  • Read the report of the Summit here.

The organisations involved in the Workforce Network have kindly provided relevant links to their work in this Network which can be accessed under “Related Resources” on the right-hand side of this page.


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A well-trained workforce that constantly updates its knowledge is critical in disease prevention and promoting quality care. Continuing professional development and education is a mainstay requirement to make sure this is the case.

The Accreditation Council of Oncology in Europe (ACOE) provides accreditation to Continuing Medical Education (CME) providers (including Member Societies of the European Cancer Organisation for the benefit of participants receiving education in oncology. You can read more about ACOE here.


To find out more about this Network, or support our work, please contact us here.

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