Paediatric cancer treatment will be consolidated from seven hospitals to three

The Federal Council of Ministers announced that as of 2027, there will be three specialised centres in Belgium dedicated to treating children with cancer. The intention is to enhance the quality of care for paediatric cancer patients by consolidating expertise and resources. The university hospitals in Ghent, Leuven and Brussels are being considered, De Morgen wrote on Monday.

Every year, 350 to 400 children in Belgium are diagnosed with cancer. “According to international research, a hospital must make at least 100 cancer diagnoses in children per year to build up sufficient expertise. Children often have rare cancers, and you cannot spread that knowledge across many hospitals," said Health minister Frank Vandenbroucke of Flemish socialist party Vooruit. He believes concentrating expertise will lead to better care; a similar reform is already in place for pancreatic and oesophageal cancer.

Haemato-oncologist Barbara De Moerloose of UZ Gent highlighted the challenges posed by the current decentralised approach "Childhood cancer is a jumble of more than 60 different subtypes," she said. "It has become untenable for all these small teams to provide additional training in every field."

The centres will be responsible for diagnosing each patient, drawing up a treatment plan and carrying out surgery or other complex procedures. Patients will be able to go to satellite centres closer to home for rehabilitation or chemotherapy.



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