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German state streamlines clinics to target breast cancer

This article was originally published in Clinica

Executive Summary

The German federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) has made a decisive move towards improving the care of breast cancer patients, by restricting treatment to specialist breast cancer clinics. As a result, only hospitals which carry out at least 150 breast cancer operations on new patients annually, or at least 100 repeat procedures, and have specialists who personally carry out at least 50 operations per year will be allowed to carry out breast cancer treatment. Hospital departments that fail to fulfil these requirements will either be closed down, or forced to merge with those that do. This would see the number of hospitals carrying out such operations fall from 250 to only 50, with each specialist centre caring for between 360,000-450,000 women.

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