Centralizing prostate cancer operations (prostatectomies) in one location has many patient benefits. The urologists, for example, will carry out at least 50 prostatectomies per year which will further improve their expertise. This lower limit of 50 is not (yet) compulsory, but an advice from the national Prostate Cancer Foundation. The mandatory volume standard of 100 procedures per year at one location from 2019 will easily be achieved. The aim is to carry out 750 prostate cancer operations in 2020. With this, the network will account for about a quarter of the prostatectomies in the Netherlands. At the moment, the Netherlands Cancer Institute is the leader in the Netherlands with over 300 operations in 2017.
Thanks to the close collaboration between the urologists of the affiliated hospitals, knowledge and expertise are continuously shared. The formation of a multidisciplinary consultation structure where treatment plans are discussed together is a good example of this. Treatment results are also compared cyclically with one another and improvements are applied directly in practice. As a result, every patient, irrespective of the hospital he is admitted to, is assured of high-quality care. The collaboration also gives a boost to scientific research. The combination of two teaching hospitals, the Netherlands Cancer Institute specializing in oncological care and research and the peripheral hospitals, offers the opportunity to increase research cohorts and to work together for necessary innovations.
The urologists from the aforementioned institutions are enthusiastic about this far-reaching collaboration. They see it as an important step forward towards offering the best surgical treatment possible for the patients. The Prostate Cancer Foundation also supports this initiative. Kees van den Berg: "As chairman of the foundation, I am delighted with the collaboration initiatives that are increasingly spreading across the country; close collaboration, like the Prostate Cancer Network, leads to the improvement of prostate cancer care and is therefore in the interests of both the patient and his family."
The collaboration between the nine hospitals will start on September 1, 2018. In the long term, the collaboration will be expanded to include other hospitals.