AMSTERDAM, 27 January, 2017 - The European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC) and the Organisation of European Cancer Institutes (OECI) lauched today "Solving issues, building relationship", a new initiative aiming at ameliorating the way cancer patient organisations and cancer centres collaborate.

Click here to check the programme of the session

The meeting was opened by ECCO President, Prof .Peter Naredi, who praised the ECPC-OECI initiative as being at the forefront of the current debate on patients' involvement in their own care. 

Lydia Makaroff PhD, Director of ECPC, welcomed more than 70 participants filling the press conference room, stressing on the fundamental importance of the ECPC-OECI alliance: "The relationship between ECPC and OECI is based on a long-standing series of successes, like the BenchCan project. Much has been said and done on patient-centric approach to cancer care, but that the only ones that can really make a difference at the national level are cancer institutes and patient organisations" said Ms Makaroff.

Dr Claudio Lombardo, Director of OECI, joined Ms Makaroff in welcoming the participants, explaining the genesis of the ECPC-OECI collaboration. In 2015, ECPC and OECI signed a Memorandum of Understanding to frame their existing collaboration and consolidate their already strong partnership. "Via this collaboration, we have the chance to really make a difference to local cancer patients and cancer institutes" said Dr Lombardo.

Patrick Miqueu PhD, from the Institut Jules Bordet (Brussels) and Francesco Florindi, ECPC Head of EU Affairs presented the initiative in details.

Click here to download the ECPC-OECI joint presentation

Solving issues, building relationships fills a gap in cancer care: it responds to the increasing demand for guidance and support in better involving patients in the life of the cancer centre.

The authors recognise that pan-European harmonisation is happening in every aspect of cancer care (treatment guidelines, medicines’ approval, organisation of care guidelines etc.), but there have been no attempts to provide a framework to better develop the relationship among patients, patient organisations and cancer centres, which can dramatically influence the way services are delivered to patients and, therefore, impact their quality of life and overall experience in the cancer centre. Solving issues, building relationships outlines the vision that ECPC and OECI share regarding how patients and cancer centres can interact in a more harmonious, efficient and effective way. By implementing the Solving issues, building relationship method, cancer centres and patient organisations can build better and more meaningful relationships, ultimately ameliorating the way they collaborate for the final benefit of the patients.

The main mission of Solving issues, building relationships is to give a guidance to patients, patient organisations and cancer institutes on how to better build their relationship to support everyone’s needs and rights. Solving issues, building relationships is therefore composed of two main parts: the method and the topics. The preparation of Solving issues, building relationships will be underpinned by a scientific paper in the field of ethics and organisation management, which will describe the methodology used to write the paper.

Click here to download the concept of Solving issues, building relationships

ECPC and OECI invited also two of their members to show how Solving issues, building relationship was grounded on the positive and negative experience of ECPC's and OECI's memberships.

Prof. David Cheeseman from the Guy's and St.Thomas' comprehensive cancer centre showcased the way patients were involved in the design of the new hospital facilities. 

ECPC Vice President, Kathi Apostolidis, also among the contributors of the initiative, presented the work done by Greek patients advocates to build up a network of expert patients and provide trainings to volunterrs, showing how patients can actually be a resource for cancer institutes.

The last part of the session was dedicated to practical implementation of Solving issues, building relationships. Mr Miqueu presented the plan for the launch of the first pilot project related to the initiative, which will be rolled out by the ECPC Member Les Amis de l'Institut Bordet and the OECI Member Institut Bordet in Brussels.

Finally, Prof. Isabelle Huys, co-lead of the IMI PREFER project, underlined the links between Solving issues, building relationships and existing IMI projects.

The ECPC-OECI session held at the ECCO2017 congress in Amsterdam was indeed a great success and a milestone towards meaningful collaboration between patient organisations and cancer institutes.