Status Comprehensive Cancer Centre for GROW and MUMC+

The GROW research institute (School for Oncology and Developmental Biology) at Maastricht University and the Maastricht UMC+ Oncology Centre and have together been accredited as a Comprehensive Cancer Centre by the Organisation of European Cancer Institutes (OECI). The MUMC+ is the first UMC and, following the Antoni van Leeuwenhoek hospital in Amsterdam, the second hospital in the Netherlands with this prestigious certification. The quality certification is valid for five years and indicates that the centre offers oncological patient care, education and scientific research in conjunction and at an excellent level.

Bernd Kremer, director of the Maastricht UMC+ Oncology Centre: “This certification is an important milestone in the development of our centre and for the care of patients in our region and far beyond. It is certainly also recognition for all the work that has been done recently.” The awarding of the quality certification was preceded by an intensive accreditation process, which was jointly managed by the Oncology Centre and GROW.

Survival and functional preservation

According to the OECI, this cooperation has led to an innovative and dynamic organisation—a frontrunner—that thoroughly integrates research and knowledge into clinical practice. Underpinning this is a strong vision that focuses on survival along with the preservation of function. This means that patient care and research are continuously focused on maintaining or restoring all the functions that define a person’s health. This includes physical functions, mental wellbeing, social participation and quality of life. Manon van Engeland, scientific director of GROW: “In terms of research, this means that we focus on improving diagnostics and treatments with fewer side effects. But we also focus explicitly on the prevention of cancer, for example, by conducting research on genetics, environment and lifestyle.”

Best possible patient care

According to the OECI, patient care, research and support in Maastricht are clearly organised around the ‘patient journey’—the route that patients take from referral to follow-up at home. In order to realise the best possible care, patient participation is integrated at all levels, from deciding on a treatment together (shared decision) to co-determination on future policy (patient representation in the Oncology Committee).

Network function

The certificate was also awarded because of the clear network function. Within OncoZON, the Southeast Netherlands Oncological Network, there is collaboration among eight other regional hospitals and the Maastro radiotherapy centre. This level of cooperation in the field of oncology is unique in the Netherlands. There is also intensive collaboration with all partners within Maastricht UMC+ who are involved in oncological patient care and research, such as the research institutes CAPHRI (Care and Public Health Research Institute), NUTRIM (School of Nutrition and Translational Research in Metabolism), the Clinical Trial Center Maastricht and the Cancer Research Fund Limburg.