Given that primary care is central to effective health reform, a multi-professional team of general practitioners (GPs), nurses, community pharmacists, and other primary or community professionals must be considered as part of the extended multidisciplinary team (MDT) in cancer care pathway planning in all countries, according to the European Cancer Organisation (ECCO).
ECCO has issued a set of essential requirements for quality cancer care (ERQCC) specific to primary care. To meet European aspirations for comprehensive cancer control, it says healthcare organisations must consider the requirements to include primary and community care in patient-centred pathways from diagnosis to treatment and survivorship.
The organisation says, as cancer care moves towards chronic disease management and as an international evidence base builds for the effectiveness of primary care, the role of the primary care physician is changing to a “care commissioner and coordinator rather than a lone practitioner”. It says there are many opportunities for extending cancer care at the primary level.
“Primary care integration is in its early stages and faces many obstacles, but we urge that access to multi-professional, specialised care is guaranteed to all cancer patients throughout their journey,” ECCO says.