Back to normal

In Austria we say “Gut ist’s gegangen, nix is’ geschehen” (Everything worked out well, nothing happened). Of course you can’t say that nothing happened at all. Fortunately we can look back on a successful congress without any “bloopers”. Because the thing with such an event is, that you can’t take out any failed scenes. So now, everything is back to normal, we are busy with the follow up work and make plans for next years’ congress.

Little less conversation and little more action!

A bundle of quotes collected by different Young Gastein Scholars

Some people have a talent to crystallize into one sentence what others need 15 minutes to explain. Some people can ask the right questions. Some people have talent to point out important issues. We wrote down
some quotes from different sessions and different speakers that made us think.

  • It’s not what they said, it’s not what they thought they said. It’s what they would have said if they would have thought about it.
  • I should understand my territory but I shouldn’t be territorial.
  • Much talk and little action explaining the little action.
  • It is not economics versus ethics but ethics with economics.
  • How can we create a sense of urgency and not just talk about it year after year?
  • Europe should look also outside Europe for solutions.
  • Job of translation to be done when talking to the business community.
  • There are many solutions that are simple but they´re all wrong.
  • How would we like to keep failing or would we like to try something different and maybe succeed?
  • Leader should Listen, Learn, Lead and be prepared to Lose.
  • Leadership is needed for the implementation of values in all sectors and in all settings.
  • What we need is a partnership of leadership.
  • A need for European health think tank for leadership.
  • Better to try and fail than not to try at all.
  • Staff satisfaction is the leading indicator of patient’s satisfaction.
  • Maybe a new type of physician should be developed in order to meet new needs. E.g. 1. more psychiatrist in countries that are recovering from war experiences (as happening in former Yugoslavia) . E.g. 2. in view of the ageing that is already occurring in countries and in other still to come, a new physician specialized in multi-morbidity among elderly.
  • An Erasmus project for doctors. The Erasmus project for students has been an inspiration for other sectors as well. There is now an Erasmus project for young entrepreneurs. Why not introduce such an exchange for doctors, where they can learn and watch how medicine is being practiced elsewhere. Those doctors bring experience back to their countries.
  • The differences in health are not only unnecessary and avoidable but also unfair and unjust.
  • How we work is as important as what we do.
  • Common solutions for shared problems.
  • Health is everybody’s business.
  • Public health is art, science and movement.

Quality and Safety – What to take home?

Some observations of a “Young Gasteiner” on the “Quality and Safety Forum”(Sesssion 1, Session 2), written by Janneke Boer

After 6 hours of presentations and debate, I think we can conclude (once more) that:
– we all recognise the fact that the quality and the safety of health care in EU is not always bad, but can improve dramatically
– there is a lot of research we can learn from,
– and almost a complete consensus on the importance of the patient’s perspective on important topics in the field of quality and safety and the importance of getting them (or their organisations) involved in the process of improving quality and safety
– projects like SIMPATIE and EUNetPaS provide a common language to get started….

So I think now it is actually time to get started!!! The presentation of Mr Klazinga clearly showed that (a combination of) strategies to improve quality and safety do work. They do not only improve the outcomes of care and/or prevent adverse events from happening, but, because of those results, also have a positive influence on the (cost) effectives of the health care. Those strategies are therefore instrumental in bringing about the goals that were set when the values “access to good quality care” and (sustainability of) “solidarity” were adopted in the Health Strategy.

But can we get started? Though very interesting, the presentations did not reveal the strategies themselves. Which ones should one adopt? What are the so called do’s in implementing certain strategies and, even more important, what are the don’ts? In short: how can one prevent to make mistakes that have already been made or better, learn from the successes from colleagues? As a young policy officer I at least got the “take home messages” that external pressure does help and that a focus on just one strategy is not the way to go. But I am not quite sure whether Teele, the quality manager of a hospital in Estonia, or my young colleagues from Lithuania, got any tangible “take home strategies or action plans” they might have hoped to find in Gastein.

Having said that, I (as a first time “Gasteiner”) expect to find those “take home strategies” in the next years, since I am hoping to revisit this excellent town and overall excellent networking conference in the coming years as well.

From Visions to reality?

One more impression from the from the parallel forum on Rare Diseases by Zlatimira Krumova.

The two-day discussions within the Rare diseases session were dynamic, interesting and highlighted central issues, e.g. the importance of networks of expertise, the necessity of adequate training for medical professionals and of having devoted national plans, the need for involvement of patients and for incentives for the industry…
We believe it is already clear to everyone that rare diseases are set high on the EU Agenda – and are going to stay there.

There are a couple of questions, however, which we, young officials and researchers, consider important – and which did not quite find their answers.
Awareness raising compaigns do, indeed, affect public healthcare policy making. But does putting only member states authorities under pressure lead to solutions that are sustainable in the long term? In a EU of 27 does the Directive on application of patients rights in cross-border healthcare provide the proper solution for patients with rare diseases, willing – or having to get their treatment abroad? Bearing in mind the financial aspects of the rare diseases therapy – and that is an important aspect – wouldn’t it make sense to base the future Communication from the Commission – and probably a Recommendation from the Council – on a comprehensive framework covering all aspects, not just the less controversial ones?

We believe the resolvement of these issues requires more than pressure: it requires a Europe-wide dialogue between all interested stakeholders, based on good ideas, but also on the ability to listen to – and eventually hear – each other.