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On the eve of World Cancer Day, the European Association of Hospital Pharmacists (EAHP) and the European Society of Oncology Pharmacy (ESOP) have issued a joint call for hospital pharmacist development in order to further advance cancer patient care and outcomes.
Pharmacists play a key part in cancer care in such roles as medical oncology, haematology, palliative care and chemotherapy preparation services.
Appropriately trained and competent pharmacists are responsible for accurate preparation, dispensing and clinical verification of patients’ chemotherapy, targeted therapy and supportive medication orders.
However, both EAHP and ESOP are ambitious to see further development of the pharmacist’s role in cancer treatment and see unrealised opportunities at the European and national level for increasing the input of pharmacist expertise to treatment decisions and the patient experience.
The two organisations have therefore issued a short five-point summary of recommendations to national and international health policy makers:
1. Recognise the need to encourage the role of the pharmacist in multi-professional cancer care teams. This helps to ensure flexibility of service, best use of workforce skills and best outcomes for patients.
2. Promote the concept of having a lead oncology pharmacist in cancer centres to manage and organise pharmaceutical care.
3. Develop and implement clear Standards in the management and assessment of chemotherapy treatment and the quality of oncology clinical pharmacy service provision.
4. Appreciate the specialised nature of hospital pharmacy, and the hospital pharmacist’s particular expertise in working with specialised and novel medications.
5. Support high standards in hospital pharmacy service through the development of accredited and certified hospital pharmacy qualifications, including oncology.
Dr Roberto Frontini, President of the EAHP, said: “Every one of us is affected by cancer and all of us will know someone taken by this prevalent class of disease.
“We all therefore have a direct stake in seeing continuous improvement of cancer care across Europe. Central to achieving that is advancing the role of the hospital pharmacist in the treatment pathway.
“EAHP and ESOP’s five-point plan provides a framework that we urge health policy makers to give thought to on World Cancer Day as they consider how to improve cancer care in their jurisdiction.”
Klaus Meier, President of ESOP, added: “Improving the standard of cancer care in Europe requires close collaboration across professions, health systems and countries.
“ESOP and EAHP are working together to raise educational and service standards in hospital and oncology pharmacy across all our member countries.
“However, to achieve this in full we need the support of health policy planners at all levels. We hope this 5 point plan can form a basis for securing greater levels of practical support.”