Cancer researchers at Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Leeds, as part of a pan-European partnership, called the European Cancer Concord (ECC) won the prestigious 2018 European Health Award. MErCuRIC PI Professor Mark Lawler, Chair in Translational Cancer Research at Queen’s University Belfast and Vice President of ECC, received the award on October 3, 2018 on behalf of the partnership during the opening ceremony of the European Health Forum Gastein, a European health policy conference and an official event of the Austrian European Council Presidency.
The award-winning project, ‘The European Cancer Patient’s Bill of Rights: A Catalyst for Change and an empowerment tool for cancer patients across Europe’ involves an equal partnership between cancer patients, healthcare professionals and cancer researchers. The Bill of Rights is underpinned by three key principles: the right of every European citizen to receive accurate information and be involved in their own care; the right of every European citizen to access specialised cancer care underpinned by research and innovation; and the right of every European citizen to cost-effective health systems that ensure optimum cancer outcomes.
Professor Lawler commented: “Cancer knows no borders, so it is important that we work together to develop solutions that address cancer inequalities in all parts of Europe. I am immensely proud to be accepting this award, not only on behalf of our team who have worked together over the last five years on this initiative, but also on behalf of the millions of European citizens who are living with and beyond cancer, and experiencing cancer inequalities every single day of their lives.”
Working in close partnership with European patient organisations and professional societies has been a key part of the initiative. MErCuRIC patient representative Margaret Grayson, a cancer survivor and Chairperson of the Northern Ireland Cancer Research Consumer Forum (NICRCF), remarked: “The news that the European Cancer Patient’s Bill of Rights has received a top European award is wonderful. This collaborative initiative has patients absolutely at its centre. It is especially pleasing that Professor Lawler will be collecting this award at Gastein, given Northern Ireland’s leadership role in the project.”
“We at the European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC) are delighted to be part of this joint success,” Lydia Makaroff, Director of the European Cancer Patient Coalition, added. “The ECPC has been a crucial partner in the European Cancer Patient’s Bill of Rights since it was launched in the European Parliament on World Cancer Day in 2014, and has worked tirelessly to find solutions to the disparities that cancer patients experience across Europe.”
Read the press release from Queen’s University Belfast here.