The National Cancer Strategy 2017-2026 recommends investment into Psycho-Oncology services to provide optimal care for cancer patients.
Psycho-Oncology addresses the psychological response of patients to cancer at all stages of the disease including the family and carer’s responses. It also addresses the psychological, behavioural, medical and social factors that may influence the disease process and the patients’ experience of their care.
The specific recommendations in the strategy are;
Recommendation 29: The National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) will appoint a National Clinical Lead for Psycho-Oncology to drive the delivery of networked services.
Recommendation 30: Each designated cancer centre will establish a dedicated service to address the psycho-social needs of patients with cancer and their families. This will operate through a hub and spoke model, utilising the Multidisciplinary approach, to provide equitable patient access.
Recommendation 31: Designated cancer centres will have a sufficient complement of specialist palliative care professionals, including psycho-oncologists, to meet the needs of patients and families (such services will be developed on a phased basis to be available over seven days a week).
The NCCP is progressing the development of Psycho-Oncology services in Ireland, working with all stakeholders in acute, community and voluntary sectors.
Dr Helen Greally was appointed the National Clinical Lead for Psycho-Oncology in December 2018.