From Citizen to Citoyen (W6)

One of the last workshops of the European Health Forum Gastein (EHFG) 2015 aimed to find answers to the question of how to empower the European patient through digital solutions and structured programmes.

Angela BrandThe idea behind the workshop title “From Citizen to Citoyen” is explained by Angela Brand of the European Alliance for Personalised Medicine (EAPM). Only patients who are actively involved in their healthcare and in control over their data can become politically responsible citizens and hence “citoyens”, which means that they are able to shape the health system. However, an essential prerequisite for becoming a citoyen would be that patients have a better understanding of their disease, which means that improving health literacy is a necessary first step.

The entire panel, including Terje Peetso of DG C Continue reading

Interview with Piroska Östlin

Today we were talking a lot about that health is a political choice. We would like to hear your comments on how you think that the influence of politics on health has developed in the last decade or so? Can you see that anything has changed?
This is a very good question indeed. I think health has always been a political choice, but Piroska Östlin & Olivia Biermannwe have not talked about it as such and we have not fully recognized its importance before. Today, we have much evidence to show that different sectoral policies and political decisions or choices do have an impact on health and health inequities. Some political choices clearly promote health and some are clearly detrimental to health. We can show this with good quality data which is very compelling. Thus, based on evidence we can say firmly that political choices and political decisions in different sectors – not only in the health sector – are really very important for health. Continue reading

Interview with François Schellevis

François Schellevis, Head of Research Department, Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research (NIVEL)

Francois Schellevis interviewed by Oliver BisazzaAt the 18th European Health Forum Gastein, I caught up with Professor François Schellevis from the NIVEL institute in the Netherlands. Professor Schellevis spoke during the panel session on 1 October, during the forum on Facing the Challenge of Multimorbidity, with a focus on how well our health and social systems are adapting to the specific challenges of treating multimorbid patients. Continue reading

Securing Health in Europe. Balancing Priorities, sharing Responsibilities (Closing Plenary)

Closing the European Health Forum Gastein 2015: Securing health in Europe with less alcohol?

Helmut Brand, President of the International Forum Gastein (IFG), has placed this year’s EHFG under the motto of “Securing Health in Europe: Balancing priorities, sharing responsibilities”. The motto is supposed to reflect the idea that health systems need to protect past achievements in the face of current challenges. The Closing Plenary is expected to bring together three days of discussions at the EHFG, where 600 politicians, senior decision-makers, representatives of interest groups, and experts meet to discuss current challenges and opportunities for health systems in Europe. In view of current developments, one important theme of the EHFG 2015 was the refugee crisis. Continue reading

Equity and solidarity (W5)

Equity and solidarity in EU healthcare systems: Facts and myths. What are the potential hurdles in accessibility to innovative cancer care in Central Eastern European (CEE) countries?

Workshop 5 This interesting workshop deftly moderated by Peter O’Donnell of POLITICO was focussed on the topic of access to new cancer treatments in Central Eastern European countries. He began by describing solidarity as a core value of the EU and asking if this should then be applied to improving access to medications in less wealthy countries. Cancer care in particular is notoriously expensive and many of the relevant medications are difficult to fund in some of these EU states with lower GDP levels. Looking at this form of health inequalities perspective it is notable that the states that can least afford these drugs are known to have higher rates and higher mortality from many cancers.

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