Working towards ESA’s strategic objectives

Working towards ESA’s strategic objectives

  • Issue 80


Helen Brewer
ESA EU Affairs manager

To mark the 10th anniversary of the Helsinki Declaration on Patient Safety in Anaesthesiology, ESA is organising its first Patient Safety Policy Summit to discuss how to improve outcomes and prevent harm during surgical and perioperative care.  The Summit will take place in Brussels on 3 and 4 March 2020 and is a key part of ESA’s strategy to promote the role of anaesthesiologists in perioperative medicine to institutional stakeholders and to promote the implementation of the Helsinki Declaration on Patient Safety in Anaesthesiology.

 To be effective, outreach must cross institutions and policy areas, geographies and stakeholders. Read on to find out how the Policy Summit will achieve this!

Institutions & policy areas

The European Parliament is the institution which brings political pressure for action on issues such as patient safety. The Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) named in the side panel have agreed to support the Summit, thanks to high-level contacts with ESA leaders from these countries.

  • We will be asking these MEPs to pick up the recommendations arising from the Summit and to help get them into the formal agenda of the Parliament.

The European Commission is responsible for implementing the will of the European Parliament. Within the Commission there are several departments (known as Directorate-Generals, or ‘DG’s) of key relevance to the work of perioperative teams. In particular, DG SANTE is responsible for healthcare, DG CONNECT is responsible for implementing the digital health agenda, and DG EMPL covers questions of education, training and professional qualifications.

  • The agenda for the Policy Summit, therefore, includes invitees from these DGs who will exchange views with ESA and our endorsing partners through panel discussions and Q & A focusing on key thematic areas.

The Committee of the Regions represents the voice of local and regional authorities across the European Union.  The Committee of the Regions is, therefore, a highly relevant institution for a second strategic objective of ESA, namely, to promote the implementation of the Helsinki Declaration on Patient Safety in Anaesthesiology.

  • Members of the Committee of the Regions will be invited to attend and speak at the Policy Summit following confirmation of their appointment early in 2020.


Key to keeping the topic of perioperative patient safety on the radar of European policymakers is to work with EU Member States that currently hold the Presidency of the Council of the EU as well as Member States which will take on the 6-month long Presidencies in future.

Since the first half of 2019, during the Romanian presidency of the EU, Chair of the NASC Prof. Serban Bubenek and Honorary ESA member Prof. Daniela Filipescu, have played an essential role in strengthening links with Romanian policymakers in EU institutions, and in particular securing the support of MEP Cristian-Silviu Busoi in the organisation of the Policy Summit, as well as other Romanian MEPs.

Patient Safety will be a health policy priority during the Croatian Presidency of the Council of the EU which begins in January 2020. ESA has secured the endorsement of the Croatian Presidency of the EU and the Policy Summit will be attended by high-level officials from the Croatian Ministry of Health, thanks to the involvement of ESA’s Croatian Society President, Dr. Višnja Ivančan and ESA’s Croatian Council representative Dr. Nataša Kovac.

Germany will follow as holders of the EU Presidency as of July 2020. ESA is already taking steps to build relationships here and President-Elect Prof. Dr. Kai Zacharowski recently met with the German Health Attaché to the European Union.

Looking further ahead, Portugal will take up the Presidency of the Council of the EU in January 2021. The Board of ESA is profoundly grateful to Portuguese Council Member Dr. Francisco Maio De Matos for his help in securing the support of three Portuguese MEPs over the course of a brief two-day visit to Brussels, and for his outreach to the Portuguese Minister of Health.

  • Health Ministers from the upcoming trio of Presidencies, (that is, Croatia, Germany & Portugal) have all been invited to attend the closing ceremony of the Policy Summit at which a Consensus Statement on patient safety in perioperative care will be presented and endorsed by high-level policymakers.

Patient Safety Stakeholders

To create a sense of urgency on the need for action on patient safety in perioperative care, it is essential to show that all stakeholders are united around this cause. In the spirit of collaboration, ESA is partnering with medical societies, patient organisations, industry representatives and other stakeholders active in the area of perioperative care for the organisation of the Policy Summit.

Medical societies endorsing the Summit are the European Association of Hospital Pharmacists, the European Board and College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine, the European Society of Vascular Surgery, the European Surgical Association, and the International Federation of Nurse Anaesthetists.

  • These organisations have been working with ESA to co-develop the program for the Policy Summit as well as the Consensus Statement.

Patient representation:At a political level the European Patients Forum (EPF) represents the voice of patients across Europe and EPF is collaborating in the Patient Safety Policy Summit as an endorsing organisation.

  • ESA is especially grateful for the involvement of two patient representatives and a family member who will bring powerful personal testimonies relating to patient safety in perioperative care.

The views of the medical technology, and the medical imaging, radiotherapy, health information and communications technologies (ICT) and electromedical industries will be represented by umbrella organisations MedTech Europe and COCIR at the Policy Summit.

  • ESA is especially grateful to industry partners Philips for their generous sponsorship of the Patient Safety Policy Summit & Exhibition as well as those companies providing general sponsorship of the Summit, namely Aspen, Fresenius-Kabi, Medtronic & Nihon Koden.

Numerous other patient safety stakeholders will either speak at or attend the policy summit. They bring expertise in diverse fields such as human factors, medication safety, patient blood management, sepsis, safe surgery initiatives and hospital management, to name a few.

To conclude, the 2020 Patient Safety Policy Summit will generate significant political capital for ESA by reaching out across institutions, addressing cross-cutting policy areas, rallying multiple stakeholders and by targeting key EU Member States necessary to keep the topic on the political agenda. ESA looks forward to building on this momentum in 2020 and beyond!

If you would like to find out more about the 2020 Patient Safety Policy Summit, please visit or contact Helen Brewer at, tel +32 496 285 664.