Extraordinary General Assembly and Networking Meeting by ENSP
From the 4th to the 6th of November, the European Network for Smoking and Tobacco Prevention (ENSP) organised its Extraordinary General Assembly and Networking Meeting in Brussels. EFA is an associated member of ENSP and was represented by EU Policy Officer Roberta Savli who presented on the current status of the EU tobacco products directive, now being discussed by the Council, and on the next steps to take for us the health NGOs. This directive is crucial, and no-one can afford to stay silent. In the morning of the 5th of November a workshop on electronic cigarettes was organized, and in the afternoon, an event at the European Parliament on tobacco control policies was hosted by MEPs Elena Oana Antonescu (EPP, Romania) and Satu Hassi (Greens, Finland). While the second panel presented the status quo of the revision of the tobacco products directive, the first part of the event was dedicated to smokefree environments from the human rights perspective, which is very important for people with allergy and respiratory diseases. EFA is collaborating with ENSP aiming at a Europe free from tobacco and of tobacco-related diseases and deaths.
Click here to see Roberta’s presentation.
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Best Practice of Use of Antibacterials
EFA President Breda Flood attended workshop organized by European Medicines Agency: “Best use of medicines legislation to bring new antibiotics to patients and combat the resistance problem” ahead of the European Antibiotic Awareness Day. It took place in London on 8 November. The topics included: the regulatory framework in Europe and the USA, encouraging appropriate use of antibacterials at theommunity and hospital settings and the “One Health” – the need for coordinating prudent use of similar antimicrobials in human and veterinary medicine. EU rules on prescription and retailing of antibacterials and their challenges and best practice, was also discussed and some EU funded research projects such as “New Drugs 4 Bad Bugs” (ND4BB) were presented. It was important to have also patients represented.
To access the European Commission’s Press Release on the European Antibiotic Awareness Day with a note from Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn please click here
EFA at the launch of the MyHealthApps.net
On 14th November, EU Policy and Programme Intern Jan Meissner attended an Open Day on health apps, where the website MyHealthApps.net (run by Patient View) was officially launched. This website brings together world’s favorite healthcare apps. Basically everyone who knows about any health app can submit it to the website and then it can receive positive feedback and recommendations from other patients, carers, patient groups and other stakeholders. There are over 300 apps at the moment and it was pleasure to see the Asthma Coach app by Asthma Society of Ireland on the top of the apps devoted to asthma, but many good apps are so far missing from our disease areas. So whenever you develop an app or you know about app that could be useful for patients especially, you can submit it and then it could reach wider audience.
EU Presidency focuses on Sustainable Health Systems for Inclusive Growth in Europe
Conference „Sustainable Health Systems for Inclusive Growth in Europe“ was held 19-20 November in Vilnius, Lithuania, organized by Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union and Health Forum of Lithuania, issued urgent call for action for immediate moves to protect Europe’s healthcare systems so that they would be people-centered, sustainable and inclusive, and deliver good health for all. EFA was represented by Board member Lina Buzermaniene and EFA members had the opportunity to vote online for the points to be included in a Vilnius declaration for patient centred sustainable health systems.
Speakers and participants stressed the need to fight health inequalities across the countries by using innovative policies approach and encouraged politicians to take driver’s seat in actions described in Vilnius declaration. Monika Kosinska, Secretary General of European Public Health Alliance, introducing Vilnius declaration, said: „We know what to do so we have to take action!“
One of the sessions of the conference entitled „Effects of health inequalities“ was led by patients: European Patient Forum. The declaration will be voted by the Council as Council conclusions in December.
Patient Evidence in patient safety
On Thursday November 21, 2013 the European Patients’ Forum organized Patient Evidence Workshop that focused on patient safety. The purpose was to create EPF contributions to EU-level actions in patient safety area, focusing on patient involvement in patient safety.
Patient representatives from EPF member organisations across Europe (Bulgaria, Hungary, Ireland, Malta, Netherlands, Romania) and Danish Society for Patient Safety, Denmark, attended the workshop. EFA representative was Juliette Kamphuis, Lung Foundation Netherlands. The achievements of patient involvement in policy (and research as well) with regards to patients safety in each country was discussed. Furthermore, necessary EU-level actions to contribute to patient involvement in patient safety and on the long run to enhance the health care system within the European Union and in each country were discussed.
During the workshop, Solvejg Kristensen (MHSc) presented practical examples and Danish experience of patient involvement in the European Union Network for Patient Safety and Quality of Care (PaSQ) project, a joint action for patient safety. Its main objective is to support the implementation of the Council recommendation on patient safety.
The experiences of patient representatives and results of the PaSQ project combined has led to development of recommendations and (new) future ideas and actions in relation to the EU recommendations on patients safety. The main conclusion of the workshop was that patients, care givers and politicians at EU-level should co-operate and joint forces in order to enhance the health care system which will lead to eventually improving patient safety.
EFA’s COPD working group met at EFA’s office on the 27 November to discuss the next steps for ‘minimum standards for COPD care in Europe’ and achieving equality in Europe in travelling for patients who need oxygen therapy.
EFA Executive officer Susanna Palkonen also attended the EPF Board meeting in Brussels and the GSK European Health Advisory Board meeting in London.