2016 was a memorable one for anybody interested in psycho-oncology in Ireland. Hosting the World Psycho-Oncology Congress in Dublin in October and having such great feedback from the meeting was a great achievement for a small but dedicated community. Abstracts from IPOS 2016 are available here.
As part of hosting the IPOS congress, the scientific committee committed to re-establish a representative group for professionals working to support the psychological and social needs of cancer patients. IPSON, Irish Psychosocial Oncology Network, was launched at the congress and received a hugely positive response from the National and international psycho-oncology community.
One of the highlights from the congress was hearing Minister for Health Simon Harris addressing the meeting so knowledgeably and passionately on the issue of the psychological and social needs of cancer patient and their families. Having a minister with this level of understanding represents a significant opportunity for IPSON to further our objectives.
IPSON held its first annual meeting in Athlone in November 2016 focusing on making Psychosocial Care an integral part of Cancer Care by 2020. There was a great appreciation of the opportunity that the launch of a new National Cancer Strategy would bring given that we hoped it to have a very strong series of recommendations for psycho-oncology. Since then the National Cancer Strategy has been published with a strong commitment to the development of psychosocial care and services.