European Parliament Activities
In 2003 the European Parliament passed a Resolution on Breast Cancer and Europe took a significant step closer to the goal of ensuring that every woman has access to optimum breast cancer screening and treatment, no matter where they live. This Resolution detailed targets and quality standards on everything from mortality rates to how mammograms are read, and it called on member states to monitor and report back on their progress, giving the European Commission the task of ensuring that countries do their utmost to comply. FOR EUROPA DONNA, the European Breast Cancer Coalition, these were the culmination of many years of advocacy efforts.
In October 2006, The European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of a new Breast Cancer Resolution 2006 for the 27 EU member states. The new resolution reconfirmed the demands of the first resolution on breast cancer of 2003, and incorporated new demands, such as the strengthening of research, job protection for breast cancer patients, and European directives for breast care nurses. In 2010, a majority of MEPs signed the Written Declaration on Breast Cancer, which reaffirmed all of the items called for in the earlier breast cancer resolutions. Again, Europa Donna was actively engaged in advocating for the Written Declaration, to ensure that breast cancer stays at the top of the health agenda for European women.
Much still needs to be accomplished before European policy is translated into national practice and we need to keep up the momentum. ED has worked actively through its publications, conferences, training courses and other activities to get the Resolutions of 2003 and 2006 implemented in our member countries. All these publications are available on our website and are also distributed by all our member countries.
National Parliamentary Activities
National parliamentary lobbying projects have been launched in many of our member countries as well as specific national all-party groups on breast cancer in the UK, Italy, Belgium, Portugal and Latvia. These play a crucial role in the battles to get individual Member States to upgrade their services in line with the European policy and EU Guidelines. The combined efforts of EUROPA DONNA with its 47 national groups working on the same issues with a united voice has made a major impact on getting EU Guidelines known and accepted.
EU Accreditation scheme for breast cancer services
Europa Donna has been working diligently to ensure that women across Europe will be able to access breast services that meet the standards described in the “EU Guidelines for quality assurance in breast cancer diagnosis and screening” and to that end has been pressing for an EU wide accreditation protocol for breast services. This project is finally coming to fruition. The European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC), in cooperation with the European Commission Directorate-General for Health and Consumers (DG SANCO) and stakeholders in the Member States, will help coordinate and improve cancer prevention, control and care processes across the EU via the standardisation and harmonisation of good practices. Short-term priorities include: the establishment of the first EU voluntary accreditation scheme for breast cancer services together with the revision of the breast cancer screening guidelines; Europa Donna is providing the patient advocate perspective and recommendations to the JRC concerning this project. The IHCP: Institute for Health and Consumer Protection Cancer Policy Support Unit (within the JRC) is carrying out this project and all activities can be followed at http://ihcp.jrc.ec.europa.eu/our_activities/public-health/cancer_policy_support/events/past-events.