EU Health Policy nEwSwAtch

EU Health Policy nEwSwAtch

Summer 2019

ESA & EU advocacy for perioperative patient safety

  • Save the date! On 3 & 4 March 2020 ESA will mark the tenth anniversary of the Helsinki Declaration on patient safety in anaesthesiology by holding a Policy Summit in Brussels. The objectives of the event are to:
    • Raise the visibility of surgical and perioperative care in the European health policy agenda as a significant cause of death and morbidity
    • Renew the principles of the Helsinki Declaration on Patient Safety in Anaesthesiology and seek endorsement from European policymakers on the need for a common patient safety approach to perioperative and surgical care
    • Call for an annual harmonised report on perioperative mortality and complications data from across the European Union
  • The summit is being organised in collaboration with the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine, the European Surgical Association, the European Society of Vascular Surgery, The European Board and College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, the International Federation of Nurse Anaesthetists, the European Association of Hospital Pharmacists and the European Patients’ Forum.
  • Led by ESA and endorsed by these organisations, the summit will include high-level policy roundtables and thematic sessions to discuss topics of common concern.

ESA & EU funding

  • Calls for proposals for the European Commission’s work program for next year under the Horizon 2020 funding instrument were officially launched at the Horizon 2020 Open Info Day on 3 July. Commission officials stressed the importance of understanding the policy context of the calls and of ensuring meaningful involvement of patients and patient organisations. Recordings of all sessions of the Open Info Day are available here. The Open Info Day was followed by a brokerage event on 4thJuly to match consortia with potential partners.
  • A call for project proposals was also launched for rare disease registries, as part of the European Commission’s flagship effort to connect expertise and research into rare diseases across Europe.
  • ESA Innovation grants – four grants of € 7,500 each were awarded by the Research Committee to ESA members who are seeking EU funding for their projects. The grants are designed to provide professional expertise in proposal writing and review.
  • EU funding workshop – ESA is actively supporting members who are looking for European funding in topics of interest to anaesthesiologists. To increase awareness of the opportunities and to demystify the process for seeking funds, ESA is planning an EU funding information day on 5th November in Brussels.
  • Horizon Europe – The European Commission has launched an open consultation on priorities and objectives for the next multi-annual financial framework (2021-2027). A response will be prepared for ESA reflecting the key themes we have identified in our perioperative patient safety advocacy activities.

ESA – other EU advocacy and outreach

  • ESA Past President Daniela Filipescu attended the BioMed Alliance annual spring meeting in May. Topics discussed included Plan S and the EU’s open access publishing proposals.
  • On 17thJune the BioMed Alliance organized a workshop on registries, providing an opportunity for medical societies and regulators to jointly discuss how registries should be organized to satisfy both regulatory and clinical needs. Given that the Medical Device Regulation will apply as from 2020 applying stricter controls on medical devices, registries are increasingly viewed as an important source of data and information for regulators. On 18thJune the BioMedical Alliance task force on the Medical Device Regulation met to discuss outcomes from the registries workshop and priorities for the task force. Both events were attended by Jan Hendrickx, member of ESA’s Patient Safety and Quality Committee.
  • The European Brain Research Area(coordinated by the European Brain Council) launched a call for clusters for promoting cooperation and exchange between brain research projects under a common topic or thematic area. EBC would be open to considering a research network dedicated to perioperative brain health.

 News from the institutions

European Commission

  • Horizon Europe – The next EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation 2021-2027, to be known as Horizon Europe will include cancer as one of its new priorities, or ‘Missions’. Missions are portfolios of research and innovation projects with a clear goal that matters for EU citizens.
  • Call for experts – Medical Device Regulation– The European Commission pre-announced its call for clinical experts to take part in expert panels that will play a role in assessing high-risk medical devices and advising regulators concerning the development, authorization and post-market surveillance of medical devices. The official call for experts will be launched later this summer.
  • The Expert Panel for Effective ways of Investing in Health (known as EXPH) has been mandated to provide an opinion to the European Commission on task-shifting in healthcare, given the significant risks and challenges posed, both in a clinical setting (eg incorrect diagnosis and treatment, inability to deal with complications) and in the legal framework.
  • Digital is transforming medical doctors daily work! Training in digital knowledge and skills should become a new core component of training for current and future doctors in all Member States. This was the conclusion of a gathering of students, junior doctors and deans convened by the European Commission and endorsed by the European University Hospital Alliance. Participants called for action at EU level, for instance by placing specific digital healthcare skills on the EU skills agenda, defining EU-wide standards on core digital skills, or providing EU funding for digital training.

European Parliament

  • European elections were held in late May. The composition of the European Parliament based on available provisional or final national results published in all Member States is available here.

European Council


  • Joint briefing on AMR – The OECD and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control published a joint briefing on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in the European Union and the European Economic Area. The briefing presents key estimates of the health and economic impact of AMR and effective strategies to address this major public health threat. The recommendations were picked up in the EU Health Ministerial Meeting held on March 1, 2019, entitled ”Next steps towards making the EU a best practice region in combating AMR”.


  • Appointments – Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe, has been appointed Deputy Director-General of WHO. The announcement was made as part of extensive reforms unveiled on 6 March 2019, seeking to modernize and strengthen the institution and make it more effective and efficient as the world’s leading authority on public health.
  • Digital Health – In the same period the WHO held a symposium on the Future of Digital Health Systems in the European Region. The aim of the Symposium was to develop priorities for public health action to support the adoption of digital health in WHO Member States, and to contribute to the development of a European vision and roadmap for the digitalization of national health systems.
  • Establishment of a World Patient Safety Day – At the 72nd World Health Assembly (WHA) in May, officials recognized Patient Safety as a global health priority and adopted the WHA Resolution ‘Global action on patient safety’, including the establishment of an annual World Patient Safety Day on 17 September. The WHA resolutions help cement Patient Safety as an essential component for strengthening health care systems, ensuring that it is addressed at a systemic level, ie through policies, law, data, surveillance, and clinical governance and so on.
  • Clean care for all – it’s in your hands! – Hand hygiene, as part of WHO’s Infection Prevention and Control campaign was promoted by WHO on 5 May given it’s demonstrated impact on quality of care and patient safety across all levels of the health system.

Global Ministerial Patient Safety Summit

  • The fifth Global Ministerial Patient Safety Summit will take place on 27 & 28 February 2020 in Montreux, hosted by the Swiss government. The summits aim to generate and promote a global movement for patient safety, galvanizing international policymakers and governmental actors to prioritize patient safety at all levels.

European Medicines Agency

  • In anticipation of Brexit, the European Medicines Agency has now relocated to Amsterdam.

Other news

Health manifestos in the run up to the European Parliament elections– various civil society organisations called on MEPs to support their priorities in the field of health.

  • The European Patients Forum manifesto called for new measures in three areas of fundamental importance to improve the quality of health care delivered across the EU, including equal and timely access to safe, effective diagnosis, treatments and support.
  • The European Brain Council’s manifesto on Brain research was launched calling on members of the European Parliament to recognise brain health as a priority for European society.
  • The European Medical Students Association called for training in digital knowledge and skills to become a core component of medical curricula in all EU Member States, and for measures to enhance public awareness and trust in digital technologies.

All change at the European Patients’ Forum! EPF welcomes a new Executive Director, Dr Usman Khan replacing Secretary General Nicola Bedlington after a decade of bringing topics of importance to patients to the attention of policymakers. EPF will also organize its first ever Patient Congress in November, and topics for discussion will include patient safety.

Medicines shortages – The European Association of Hospital Pharmacists updated its position on medicines shortages, addressing supply chain actors, national governments and European institutions, and calling for closer collaboration of healthcare professionals, wholesalers, manufactures and national competent authorities to jointly minimise the impact that medicines shortages have on patients.

The European Medical Students Association called for action on transparency and handling conflicts of interest in healthcare and medical education settings, and greater awareness amongst policymakers and the public of the issues involved.


Further information about the events and opportunities can be found at the links, or please contact Helen Brewer at, tel + 32 496 285 664.