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The concerns of oncology professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic results from the ESMO Resilience Task Force survey II

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  • K.H.J. Lim
  • Krithika Murali
  • Kostantinos Kamposioras
  • Kevin Punie
  • Christoph Oing
  • Miriam O'Connor
  • Eleanor Thorne
  • Teresa Amaral
  • Pilar Garrido
  • Matteo Lambertini
  • Bharti Devnani
  • Benedikt Westphalen
  • Gilberto Morgan
  • John Haanen
  • Claire Hardy
  • Susana Banerjee
Article number100199
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>31/08/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>ESMO Open
Issue number4
Number of pages9
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date1/07/21
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Background The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in significant changes to professional and personal lives of oncology professionals globally. The European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Resilience Task Force collaboration aimed to provide contemporaneous reports on the impact of COVID-19 on the lived experiences and well-being in oncology. Methods This online anonymous survey (July-August 2020) is the second of a series of global surveys launched during the course of the pandemic. Longitudinal key outcome measures including well-being/distress (expanded Well-being Index—9 items), burnout (1 item from expanded Well-being Index), and job performance since COVID-19 were tracked. Results A total of 942 participants from 99 countries were included for final analysis: 58% (n = 544) from Europe, 52% (n = 485) female, 43% (n = 409) ≤40 years old, and 36% (n = 343) of non-white ethnicity. In July/August 2020, 60% (n = 525) continued to report a change in professional duties compared with the pre-COVID-19 era. The proportion of participants at risk of poor well-being (33%, n = 310) and who reported feeling burnout (49%, n = 460) had increased significantly compared with April/May 2020 (25% and 38%, respectively; P < 0.001), despite improved job performance since COVID-19 (34% versus 51%; P < 0.001). Of those who had been tested for COVID-19, 8% (n = 39/484) tested positive; 18% (n = 7/39) felt they had not been given adequate time to recover before return to work. Since the pandemic, 39% (n = 353/908) had expressed concerns that COVID-19 would have a negative impact on their career development or training and 40% (n = 366/917) felt that their job security had been compromised. More than two-thirds (n = 608/879) revealed that COVID-19 has changed their outlook on their work-personal life balance. Conclusion The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the well-being of oncology professionals globally, with significantly more in distress and feeling burnout compared with the first wave. Collective efforts from both national and international communities addressing support and coping strategies will be crucial as we recover from the COVID-19 crisis. In particular, an action plan should also be devised to tackle concerns raised regarding the negative impact of COVID-19 on career development, training, and job security.