On April 24th, a delegation of Patient Advocates from Inspire2Live handed over a petition to a delegation of the standing committee for health of the Dutch Parliament.
In the petition, Inspire2Live shows that although we can offer good oncological care in the Netherlands, we do not always do that. In fact, the chance that you survive cancer while maintaining a good quality of life depends on your zip code.
A cancer patient almost always goes to their doctor first who, in case of a suspected cancer, will refer them to the specialist of the local hospital for further diagnosis. This is already wrong because where one patient ends up in a Medical Center where hundreds of patients with the same illness are treated successfully, the other ends up in an ICDRE hospital around the corner, where ICDRE stands for ‘I Can Really Do Everything.’ In the ICDRE hospital, for example, in the field of imaging, when you need the equipment and the knowledge and experience, it is hard to provide the right treatment plan for that patient. In addition to that, the local hospital often lacks the minimum necessary volume of patients to gain experience in the treatment; yet they often think that they can provide the best care in these hospitals and it turns out that they are based on that ‘ICDRE’ principle.
Sometimes they do well, but too often that is an expensive misconception and it does not go well. Then there are unnecessary complications, which means extra treatment days are needed (with extra costs), the survival time is shorter, or the treatment is at the expense of the quality of life. Sometimes patients are only referred to a specialized hospital after many examinations and senseless (but burdensome and costly) treatments. Often it is unfortunately already too late; curative action has become impossible and palliative treatment is the only thing that remains.
Inspire2Live says: ‘This should stop’.
We believe that everyone has the right to the best possible treatment and can see that the market itself is not able to achieve this. This is why we have called upon the Minister and the Dutch Parliament, health care providers and health insurers, through a petition, to take their responsibility in order to take away all obstacles at national and European level that impede the formation and optimal functioning of excellent cancer centers as soon as possible. Diagnosis, treatments and psychosocial (after) care of patients, should be performed exclusively in excellent cancer centers as quickly as possible. This way we can guarantee every patient gains access to the best possible care.
The petition also provides figures for prostate, esophageal and gastric cancer with numerical support for this wish of Inspire2Live.
The petition (only in Dutch) can be downloaded from the Inspire2Live site: Petitie Excellente Kankercentra