European Cancer Patient Bill of Rights Revealed

The European Cancer Patient’s Bill of Rights has been launched in the European Parliament

medwireNews: The European Cancer Concord (ECC) has presented a charter to the European Parliament in Strasbourg that aims to address disparities in cancer care across the European Union.

The ECC, which represents oncology leaders and patient advocacy organisations from 17 countries, explains that the European Cancer Patient’s Bill of Rights is a catalyst for change based on three underlying principles.

The first, Article 1, gives the right of every European citizen to receive the most accurate information available and be proactively involved in his or her care, explain Mark Lawler, from The Queen’s University of Belfast in the UK, and co-authors.

This includes 10 recommendations with regard to care, such as access to public health cancer prevention interventions, high-quality cancer screening and diagnosis services and personalised care plans, as well as transparency with regard to access to data on treatments and outcomes.

Article 2 states the right of every European citizen to receive optimal and timely access to appropriate specialised care, underpinned by research and innovation. The nine recommendations guide where, when and how patients should receive care, including the right of children to receive specialised paediatric services.

Article 3 gives the right of every European citizen to receive care in health systems that ensure improved outcomes, patient rehabilitation, best quality of life and affordable healthcare, the ECC authors say.

This is covered by 11 points including recommendations that patients are treated within national cancer control programmes organised using national guidelines, receive cost-effective care throughout their cancer journey, and are offered long-term follow-up, and survivorship or palliative care to ensure quality of life.

Article 3 also promotes high-quality clinical research including input from patients, caregivers and patient advocacy organisations, write Mark Lawler and co-authors.

“Launching this bill of rights in the European Parliament on World Cancer Day, in partnership with European cancer patient organizations and Members of the European Parliament Against Cancer (MEPs Against Cancer), represents a clear commitment to promulgating and implementing this catalyst for change for European citizens,” they write in The Oncologist.

“If successful, it may also provide a model for developing collaborative patient-centered approaches to deliver equitable cancer care in other regions throughout the world.”

Reference

Lawler M, le Chevalier T, Murphy MJ Jr, et al. A Catalyst for Change: The European Cancer Patient's Bill of Rights. Oncologist 2014 Feb 3. [Epub ahead of print]

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