Flash report on 2015 ECIBC Plenary

Flash report on 2015 ECIBC Plenary
Improving breast cancer screening, diagnosis and care in Europe

The second plenary meeting of the ECIBC took place from 9 till 11 December 2015 in Baveno, Italy, hosting about 100 stakeholders from policy and practice of breast cancer care.

The second plenary meeting of the European Commission Initiative on Breast Cancer (ECIBC) took place from 9 till 11 December 2015 in Baveno, Italy, hosting about 100 stakeholders from policy and practice of breast cancer care.

The plenary aims at engaging and inform stakeholders including policy makers, National Contacts, National Accreditation Bodies, cooperation partners, the scientific community, citizens and patients,  and others about aims, activities, and achievement of the ECIBC. The plenary thereby sets out to seek feedback, input and engagement of these stakeholders on current and future ECIBC projects and developments.

The plenary is the only time when the ECIBC is open to those that are not part of ECIBC working groups and National Contacts. It is therefore the occasion not only to complement the transparency granted by the project's web hub with updates and insights, but, most importantly, for participants to provide their inputs and support to the initiative.

The actual relevance of the meeting and the value of the ECIBC for the quality of breast cancer care were acknowledged through video-clip messages by Anneli Jäätteenmäki, Vice-President European Parliament and Alojz Peterle, President of the Member of Parliament's (MEP) Against Cancer.

At the first day the status of the current ECIBC sub-projects, namely the voluntary European Quality Assurance Scheme for Breast Cancer Services (the European QA scheme), the European guidelines for breast cancer screening and diagnosis (the European Breast Guidelines), the platform for evidence-based guidelines for all breast cancer care processes (Guidelines Platform), and research activities of the ECIBC were presented to the audience.

The second conference day opened with a key-note by Chris Graham from the Picker-Institute on the concept of patient centred care and measuring the quality of health services. The practice of breast cancer care and quality assurance for breast cancer care were presented as well by the representatives from Hungary, Malta and Norway and in posters during a guided poster-tour later that day. Further European and international projects and initiatives on breast cancer care were presented including CanCon (Tit Albrecht, National Institute of Public Health, Slovenia), EU-TOPIA (Harry de Koning, Erasmus University, Rotterdam), the US-Breast Centre Accreditation (Cary Kaufmann, Bellingham Breast Cancer Centre), and the European Network of Cancer Registries, (Nadya Dimitrova, Bulgarian National Cancer Registry).

Participants were actively engaged in discussing burning questions related to the quality of breast cancer care in four parallel workshops on (1) continuity of care, (2) communication in person-cantered services, (3) key outcomes for studies on breast cancer screening, and (4) the volume-outcome relation in breast cancer care. 

The third and final conference day started with a key note by Özge Tunçalp from WHO, Geneva on dealing with evidence from qualitative research in guideline development. Beyond reporting from the parallel workshops further presentations addressed the subjects of  equity of access to breast cancer screening programmes (Ana Molina, FISABIO), reported about the experience of services users with participating in clinical audits (Elizabeth Benns, Independent Cancer Patients' Voice) and included a  feedback on the ECIBC projects by Ina Kopp from the Guidelines International Network (G-I-N).

During the meeting the launch of the ECIBC web hub was announced. The web hub is serving as the interface between the ECIBC and citizens and stakeholders. With the launch of the web hub the first important milestone of the ECIBC has been reached.

In summary, the 2nd ECIBC plenary was successful and received positive feedback from participants.

Main messages of the ECIBC plenary refer to

  • The importance of keeping the transparent and inclusive character of the ECIBC. The web hub is the key channel in this respect.
  • The need to publically share the methodologies applied and the expected timelines to better prepare the acceptance and implementation of the European QA scheme and the European Breast Guidelines.
  • In the development of both European QA scheme and the European Breast Guidelines to combine a rigorous and methodological sound approach with the flexibility required to adapt both to the diversity of the healthcare systems in European countries.
  • The ECIBC welcomes contributions and inputs.  Besides the Plenary also the calls for feed-back including the scope of the scheme and the guidelines in the beginning of 2016 are occasions for stakeholders and the public to provide their input.

Like the 2015 ECIBC plenary, the 2016 ECIBC plenary aims for engaging representatives from practice and politics. The 2016 plenary meeting is therefore scheduled for 24-25 November 2016, dates that should allow Members of the European Parliament to also join the plenary. Once more the 2016 plenary sets out to provide a platform and a link at the interface between research and policy with the aim of improving care for all women in Europe that are confronted with breast cancer.

This short report is directed to all those visiting the ECIBC web hub, but JRC and the ECIBC team would like to use this space for thanking all participants for having attended the plenary meeting as its success would not have been possible without their lively, active and inspiring participation.