Healthcare providers' priorities for cancer care: A Delphi study in Greece

Nikolaos Efstathiou, Jamal Ameen, Anne-Marie Coll
European Journal of Oncology Nursing: the Official Journal of European Oncology Nursing Society 2007, 11 (2): 141-50
Cancer is a major problem globally and effective cancer care services are needed to lessen its burden on the community. In Greece, oncology health services provision is not located efficiently, resulting in few patients receiving high-quality care. Furthermore, shortages of health professionals and underdeveloped services such as primary care, home care and palliative care have aggravated the problem. The absence of a national cancer registry means that the extent of cancer incidence cannot be evaluated effectively. Dissatisfaction with the Greek NHS is well established, despite the reforms proposed by consecutive Greek governments. It remains that limited research exists in the area of cancer services and cancer care. The aim of this study was to identify the key areas of cancer care and services that needed to be developed or improved in Greece and their prioritisation within the Greek healthcare system. A Delphi technique was used to collect data from a sample of 30 healthcare providers, in three rounds. The response rate for each round was over 77%. The priorities for healthcare providers were focused on staff shortages, working conditions, pain management, home care, day units and communication. Based on the priorities provided by the participants and supporting literature, it is suggested that a national cancer registry, the employment of nurses to develop primary care, home care, day care and palliative care services need to be established. Furthermore, education in communication skills and the redistribution of the bio-medical technology are needed in order to provide more effective cancer services in Greece. More research is needed to validate the actual level of cancer services provided in Greece.

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