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What future role for health literacy in Europe?

Public health is not just about human diseases, healthcare services or cross-border pandemics. Most of all, health is about people. Giving wider attention to the individual also fits perfectly with the European 2020 vision of ’smart, inclusive and sustainable’ growth for a healthier EU, as highlighted at a recent meeting on ’health literacy in Europe’ organised by STOA - European Parliament Science and Technology Options Assessment - on 1 July 2015. People are used (...)

’Freedom of no choice’? Discussing the availability of CAM products in Europe

The most recent meeting of the MEP Interest Group on Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) took place on 1 July 2015 at the European Parliament. Hosted by MEP Sirpa Pietikaeinen (EPP, Finland), it focused on the gap in availability of CAM products and treatments in many EU Member States. To kick off the meeting, MEP Sirpa Pietikaeinen recalled that a large number of people in Europe - currently estimated to be about 50% of the population - have already used CAM products, which (...)

Correcting health workforce imbalances: What coordinating role for the EU?

Co-organised by the Health Workers for All (HW4All) project, the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU) and EPHA, a policy debate took place on 5 May 2015 which discussed how the ethical recruitment principles of the WHO Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel could best be implemented. It focused on the European context where professional mobility is encouraged in the Internal Market yet posing increasing challenges for the health systems (...)

WHA adopts resolutions on AMR and immunization

On 25 May 2015, the 68th World Health Assembly (WHA) - the supreme decision-making body of WHO which convenes annually in Geneva - agreed resolutions to tackle antimicrobial resistance and improve access to affordable vaccines. Tackling antimicrobial drug resistance The global importance and seriousness of AMR was highlighted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who told delegates on the opening day that addressing AMR is one of the highest health priorities for the world. Following a (...)

Op-ed articles highlight recruitment practices across Europe

In the run-up to the event, ’Mobility of Health Professionals in the EU: Ethical Recruitment and Policy Coherence’, Health Workers for All (HW4All) released a compilation of case studies that highlight good practices related to achieving a more equitable distribution of health workers across Europe, while highlighting the importance of respecting internationally mobile health workers’ rights. To complement the case studies, and prior to the 5 May event on the (...)

Moving on with the Implementation of the European Health Workforce Action Plan

The projected shortage of over 1 million health workers by 2020 represents a serious threat to health systems in Europe. Continued action on health workforce is essential across the EU as professional imbalances can lead to growing health disparities within and between countries. Europe’s health workforce policies also have a major impact on neighbouring countries and on a global scale. The implementation of the Action Plan for the EU Health Workforce is progressing with two key (...)

20th EAHP congress focuses on patient safety & changing roles of hospital pharmacists

The 20th congress of EPHA member the European Association of Hospital Pharmacists (EAHP) took place in Hamburg on 25-27 March 2015. This year’s focus was ’patient safety first’, and various sessions explored how hospital pharmacists can contribute to the patient journey, for example by ensuring medication reconciliation and safety and by providing expert advice on treatments and medicines. EPHA President Peggy Maguire - also Director General of the European Institute of (...)

European Working Time consultation - where to go from here?

In December 2014, the European Commission launched the latest public consultation on the review of the Working Time Directive 2003/88/EC in the hope to make progress following the failed negotiations of the cross-sectoral social partners at the end of 2012. The Commission’s declared goal is to consider making appropriate changes that would make the Directive more suitable for dealing with the ongoing challenges Europe’s employment sectors are subject to. The outcomes of the (...)

Health technology assessments and innovation in health

European Ministers of Health also adopted conclusions on innovation for the benefit of patients at a Council meeting on 1 December 2014. Ministers are calling on national governments and the European Commission to cooperate more closely on the ’life cycle approach’ for new innovative medicines and move ahead with the implementation of health technology assessment. The Council conclusions highlight the importance of early dialogue between technology developers, regulatory, (...)

Health Ministers’ Conclusions address patient safety and antimicrobial resistance

In recent years, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has been identified as a major health threat. The 2014 European Antibiotic Awareness Day drew attention to the consequences arising from the overuse and misuse of antibiotics, for instance through self-medication. The emergence of multi-drug resistant ’superbugs’ as a result is a serious threat to health throughout Europe. European Health Ministers recently issued Council conclusions which expand the EU level discourse about (...)