Winter 2016 edition of the EONS Magazine - catch up with the EONS-10 Congress

Simon Harris: Enabling people to live with and beyond cancer

Irish Health Minister announces imminent launch of Ireland’s cancer strategy.

Mr Harris began by hailing the importance of the EONS-10 Congress. He said: “Your attendance here is of ultimate importance for patients. It’s about sharing experiences and knowledge in the interest of all our patients. As you know, there is a growing body at international level that is outlining the beneficial impact of emerging nursing roles and the delivery of cancer care, and the potential to build further on this. And this is what it’s all about – it’s about looking at what we’re already doing and where can we improve and go further.

Simon Harris addresses the EONS-10 audience

Simon Harris addresses the EONS-10 audience

It's about having the opportunity to debate the challenges and the opportunities you, as nurses, face in improving comprehensive care to enable people to live with, and live beyond cancer, and to receive timely palliative care is really important. We have to learn from each other, recognise what’s best practice and be able to share that knowledge. That is the benefit of congresses such as this.”

The Irish cancer story – and a new strategy

“The national cancer control programme was established in Ireland in 2007, and this has led significantly to the development of cancer services such as rapid access clinics to improve early diagnoses and advances in hospital-based treatment. Cancer now affects one in three Irish people at some stage of their lives. It has touched every family in every community as more people are being diagnosed with cancer every year. Yet more people are now surviving and living with, and living beyond the disease. The constant advancements in cancer research and treatment require a commitment of optimum care and service provision for ever increasing numbers.

“Our new cancer strategy, which will be launched shortly, will provide directly in developing and implementing policies for the control of cancer. Since becoming minister of health, I’ve met many cancer patients and cancer groups, and we now must have a discussion about survivorship as this is one of the areas where our new strategy is going to be focusing on.


Pauline Kehoe of the Irish Association for Nurses in Oncology spells out their contribution to the strategy

“We hope that the cancer strategy is launched before the end of 2016. It’s a robust strategy that will give us a good framework for cancer care in Ireland for the next 10 years, which covers the whole spectrum across cancer control.

Pauline Kehoe addresses EONS-10 delegates

Pauline Kehoe of the Irish Association for Nurses in Oncology spells out their contribution to the strategy

“In this strategy, we managed to have nursing incorporated into every aspect of the cancer control programme. The three overarching recommendations are first around the advancement and involvement of clinical nurse specialist and advanced nurse practitioner roles. As soon as possible, a workforce planning review will be implemented where we would engage with all the oncology nurses in the country and establish exactly what we have – how many generalist nurses, how many specialist nurses, and how many advanced nurse practitioners.

“Then in each region, we will look at how many patients come to the centre, and how many nurses we needed to cater for those patients in each of those areas. So maybe we would need more nurses in more areas than another. But we would have to look at each region and see how that would develop.

EONS-10 delegates hear about future strategies for developing nurse leadership in Ireland

EONS-10 delegates hear about future strategies for developing nurse leadership in Ireland

Developing nurse leadership

“The second thing is to strategically develop nurse leadership around the eight cancer centres in the country. We have some fantastic nurses working in leadership roles around the country, but we want them to be strategically placed within a leadership development pathway within the cancer services.

“I spoke about the hub and spoke mechanisms and, doing that, we would have a nurse leader in each hospital area, and then right down to the local centres.

“The other submission that we made was about the development of research professionals and having a professor of cancer research attached to each of the cancer centres, and then attached to the academic centre related to that cancer centre. We would have somebody who would drive nursing research, and identify the needs of the patients on the ground. They would provide the capacity for us to carry out research around us, and then hopefully implement the results of some of the research to improve patient care and patient pathways.”