Health admits errors in the selection of cancer centers that harmed Madrid

More than two months have passed since around thirty Oncology service heads from leading hospitals throughout Spain will show, through a letter sent to Health, their disagreement with the process of choosing the ten affiliated centers that will lead the accreditation in our country of future comprehensive cancer care centers. They highlighted the “lack of transparency and rigor” of an evaluation that, in addition to not being such, given that those summoned did not know the scientific-technical criteria by those who were going to choose or reject them, had been partial.

And the latter had been determined by the fact that Health and the coordination of the Cancer Strategy of the National Health System (SNS), represented by the epidemiologist Josep M. Borrásthey had introduced into the process an unknown criterion for the rest of the parties (the autonomous communities and the hospitals): that of territoriality.

That is, the priority was that the hospitals chosen were “one per Autonomous Community” or, at the very least, represented the greatest number of regions possible. (It should be remembered that the centers finally chosen as affiliates are located in ten regions, leaving another seven without any). Following this premise, seven reference hospitals in the Community of Madrid, of the eight that were presented, had been immediately discarded when one of them is chosenis La Paz Hospital.

The aforementioned project to convert tertiary hospitals into comprehensive cancer care centers is part of the European Cancer Strategy 2030, which aims to ensure that, by that year, 90% of patients with this disease are treated in these Comprehensive Cancer Centers (CCC).

CC AA pressure

More professionals joined the oncologists' complaint ((LINK:INTERNO|||Article|||65c2823a1079b0e491efe8d9|||scientific societies (such as the Spanish Oncology Society –SEOM– )) and the ECO Foundation), the association of most representative patients(Gepac), the Community of Madrid (CAM) and the PP. The latter requested the appearance of the Minister of Health, Mónica García, in the Congressional Health Commission to give explanations. LA RAZÓN echoed this information from the first moment.

Nobody had rectified it, until last week. Last Tuesday, in a closed-door meeting of the Institutional Cancer Strategy Committee of the SNS, in which, for the first time, in addition to Health, the CC AA and JM Borrás, medical societies and patient associations had been summoned, representatives of 6 autonomous communities (of different political persuasions) expressed their “deep discomfort” at the “poor management of the process” and They asked Health and the coordinator to “respond for it and redesign the Strategy”, according to what regional sources present at the meeting told this newspaper.

After trying to minimize the errors at first, Borrás finally admitted: «we have been wrong. We are aware that this has many errors and that we have to listen to the autonomous communities about how we can do it better. To continue you have to change.

“consolation” prize

Likewise, from the General Subdirectorate of Healthcare Quality of the Ministry, it was highlighted – according to the same sources – that, for times, it was feasible to make changes in the approach so that, from now to the first months of 2025, all centers that committed to certification could become part of the European project. This is still a “consolation” prize given that, Only the ten centers chosen last December will have close to one million euros from the European Commission to invest in their accreditation, the training of their professionals, among other needs.

Comprehensive care networks

Broadly speaking, what the European Plan calls for is that there be comprehensive care networks in all countries that ensure a quality approach for people with cancer. Therefore, as advocated by Oncology professionals and managers from the different regions, The logical way to create them is that they first exist within each CC AA (connecting the hospitals with each other), and, from there, a national network is created.

The CAM, for example, has a network of this type, the Madrid Oncology Network (ROM) of which the eight centers that participated in the process are part. In fact, their candidacy was joint, as an assistance network. A key characteristic is that the ROM is supportive of all of Spain: More than 35% of the oncology population is treated in these hospitals, which operate in a similar way to the National Transplant Organization.