Policy News

2019 Health Programme Briefing
An East of England European Partnership Briefing note on the 2019 work programme is available. The work programme was published on 29 March and outlines all activities planned under the Programme this year. The overall budget for the year is nearly 64 million euros. There will be one open call for project proposals which will cover 'stakeholder actions to implement the EU guidelines on prudent use of antimicrobials in human health'.

April 2019

UK Government on recognition of EU workers’ qualifications after EU Exit
Following legislation in March, the Department of Health and Social Care has provided information on the recognition of EU workers’ qualifications on the UK’s EU Exit. Currently, there are 63,000 qualified workers from the EU and Switzerland working for the NHS and 104,000 working as social care workers in the UK. The Department says there will be no changes of contracts for current workers with qualifications attained in the EU or Switzerland. The government is also encouraging EU workers to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

In a letter to health and social care workers the Secretary of State, Matt Hancock, says "you will have broadly the same rights and benefits you currently enjoy. This commitment stands whether the UK leaves the EU with or without a deal."  It also says "EU staff who are currently practising in the UK can continue to do so, and that professionals qualified in the EEA and Switzerland can continue to apply for registration after exit day, even if we leave without a deal.". There will be no need for any change to existing employment contracts if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. The letter also encourages health and social care workers not to stockpile medicines.

EU Health Award
This year’s EU Health Award focusses on initiatives of cities, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and schools contributing to a higher level of public health through preventing and reducing obesity in children and young people. Initiatives could include, for example, actions creating awareness raising campaigns, preventing and reducing overweight with the support of mobile health (mHealth), engaging with health care professionals through training, among others.

Tackling the AMR Burden – EU-funded Joint Briefing from OECD and ECDC
The joint Briefing on anti-microbial resistance finds that if no effective action is put in place, resistance to second-line antibiotics will be 72% higher in 2030 compared to 2005 in the EU/EEA. In the same period, AMR to last-line treatments will more than double.

March (II) 2019

Launch of collaboration between ERNs and stakeholders
Areas of potential cooperation between the European Reference Networks and other stakeholders are being explored by ERN members and representatives of industry and patients’ organisations. At their first joint meeting, industry was interested particularly in the fields of registries or clinical trials, and the need to test different business models. Patients’ organisations raised how to ensure that the results of the collaboration with industry will meet public interest, for instance in a new treatment, and how to ensure that ERN activities funded by the industry reflect patients’ needs.

Publication - The benefit of EU action in health policy: the record to date
This study by the European Parliamentary Research Service provides an overview the impact of EU action in the field of health policy and includes a brief overview of the EU legal framework, policy tools and best practice in each area. It considers the EU Health Programme, cross border healthcare, pharmaceuticals regulation, medical devices, prevention, and vaccination.

March (I) 2019

EU Grants Registration – Reminder
All UK beneficiaries of the European Union’s Third Health Programme have been asked to register their project and organisation with the Cabinet Office. Registration details can be found on the Cabinet Office’s Gov.UK website.

European Medicines Agency loses court case to end London lease over Brexit
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has lost its court case to cancel a lease on its office in London’s Canary Wharf financial district due to Brexit. While it respects the ruling of the High Court, the EMA reiterated that it had “no choice” but to leave London. It is not known whether the EMA will appeal. The ruling means the EMA could pay around €18 million a year until 2039 unless it can find a suitable subletter for the premises.

Brexit and health and social care
The Welsh NHS confederation has published a ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ on managing Brexit - EU withdrawal in health and social care in Wales.

Rare Diseases
28 February 2019 was the twelfth international Rare Disease Day. The theme is 'Bridging health and social care'. The EU has launched a new European Platform on Rare Disease Registration which aims improve the sharing of effective diagnosis and treatment strategies. Available online and open to the public, it merges registry data sources to foster the critical mass of patient data needed to trigger pharmacological, translational or research studies.

Publication - Integrating is caring: a paradigm shift in health
People may be living longer, but they are also likely to become ill in old age, with the growing prevalence of chronic diseases and multi-morbidities. An EPC policy briefing argues for integration of healthcare services.

Publication - Accelerating the Digitization and Market Access of Emerging Technologies for Healthcare - The Pivotal Role of RTOs
EARTO, the European Organisation of Research and Technology Organisations, has published a policy paper for the future of healthcare research policies the context of Horizon Europe and Digital Europe Programme preparations. It makes the following recommendations:
• Maturation of health technologies (from research to proof of concept ready for clinical studies) is a risky process: provide incentives for RTOs to accelerate market access.
• Supporting Key Enabling Technologies projects and infrastructures to answer the needs of innovative medtech SMEs.
• Digital Europe initiatives for healthcare should focus on security, reliability, and availability of medical data.
• Connecting Innovation Regional Hubs in health technologies would increase impact.

February (II) 2019

Recommendation on a European Electronic Health Record exchange format
The European Commission has published its Recommendation to create a European format that will allow electronic health records to be shared securely while meeting data protection rules. Digitising health records, and creating systems for them to be securely accessed by citizens, and securely shared between the different actors in the health system, is an important step which requires electronic health records to be interoperable across the EU. At present many systems are incompatible. The Recommendation moves into new areas, such as laboratory tests, medical discharge reports and images, and imaging reports. This builds on earlier steps begun in the areas of patient summaries and e-prescriptions.
Q&As on the Recommendation.
Factsheet on the impact of the European Exchange Format of Electronic Health Records (EHRS) on citizens, medical professionals and public administrators.

New rules to increase the safety of prescription medicines
The European Commission has added to the 2011 Falsified Medicines Directive with the introduction of a 2-D barcode and anti-tampering device on medicine boxes. This comes into force as of the 9th February 2019 and aims to act as a further safety net against the infiltration of counterfeit prescription medicine into the EU market. The 2-D barcode will allow end-to-end verification of the medicine by allowing authorised persons or Governments to investigate the supply chain. The changes will not be immediately visible as companies may continue to use medicine that they have in stock. The new rules have also been deferred by Italy and Greece who already have similar systems in place.

February (I) 2019

Questions to the Minister on access to medicines in the event of ‘no deal’
The House of Lords EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee has written to the Health Secretary on outstanding areas of concern, including:
  • When will the Government contact suppliers of medicines and medical products to give them notice and guidance on rerouting their supplies.
  • Clarifying what affect a 'no deal' scenario may have on UK pharmaceutical manufacturers who supply within the UK.
  • The agreements needed to allow organ exchange to continue.
  • The impact of a 'no-deal' scenario on clinical trials.

The NHS and Health Law Post Brexit
A report from a ESRC UK in a Changing Europe project “Health Law outside the EU: immediate, intermediate and long term impacts” considers the impact of Brexit on the NHS in the devolved jurisdictions, from the perspectives of professionals and patients, pharmaceuticals and public health. Findings include concerns relating to:
  • cross-border care in the border regions of Ireland and Northern Ireland
  • impact on staffing
  • access to medicines and also a range of other consumables needed to treat patients
  • risk to public health standards (e.g. tobacco regulation, and debates about e-cigarettes)
  • a future relationship with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
  • exclusion from vigilance systems
  • impact on recognition of professional qualifications
  • adverse impact on social determinants of health.

A first step for ePrescriptions across EU member states
For the first time EU patients can use digital prescriptions issued by their home doctor when visiting a pharmacy in another EU country. In this case Finnish patients are now able to go to a pharmacy in Estonia and retrieve medicine prescribed electronically by their doctor in Finland. The initiative applies to all ePrescriptions prescribed in Finland and to the Estonian pharmacies that have signed the agreement. 22 Member States are part of the initiative and are expected to exchange ePrescriptions and Patient Summaries by the end of 2021.

Pesticides in food: MEPs push for improved approval procedures
MEPs are pushing for more transparent procedures in the authorisation of pesticides, including that the public should be granted access to the studies used to authorise a pesticide. About 50% of the food tested by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in 2016 contained pesticide residues, with 3.8% exceeding legal limits.

UK and Russia sign Memorandum on Regulatory Cooperation on Medicines
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with its Russian counterpart; the State Institute of Drugs and Good Practices of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation.

This agreement will increase collaboration between the two bodies and further enhance cooperation in the field of regulation of medicines.

The MoU is designed to establish mechanisms of cooperation which will facilitate:
  • the exchange of information on medicines regulations
  • the exchange of safety information
  • cooperation on Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) inspections
  • collaboration on enforcement activities

Since the EU referendum, the UK has pursued a policy of diversification in medicine supplies and regulatory cooperation.

January (I) 2019

Priorities for health under the Romanian EU presidency
Romania holds the EU presidency for six months from January 2019. In introducing its priorities in this area it aims to make progress on the Health Technology Assessment Plan (HTA) legislation; and identifies five priority themes:
• antimicrobial resistance
• vaccination
• equal access to medicines for patients in the EU
• patient mobility
• eHealth.
Find out more about the Romanian priorities overall at the presidency website.

Overseas NHS visitors: implementing the charging regulations
The Department of Health and Social Care has updated its guidance on implementing charging regulations. The information is for NHS bodies who need to make and recover hospital charges from overseas visitors. The current rules under EU Regulations “continue to apply, at least until the UK leaves the EU”.

Immigration health surcharge doubles
The immigration health surcharge doubled on 8 January 2019. The extra fee paid by visa applicants to fund the NHS rises to £400 a year, up from £200, for applications made on or after that date. Students and those on the Youth Mobility Scheme pay £300 (up from £150). Details from the Free Movement website.

Invitation to submit best practices in public health
The European Commission is looking for public health best practices involving successful interventions at local, regional or national level, that can be transferred between Member States or scaled-up, and are conducive to reaching SDG 3.4. Stakeholders are invited to submit through the best practice portal until 31 January 2019. The submitted practices will be assessed and a number will be invited to a “marketplace” workshop planned for June 2019. All practices selected as “best” are expected to receive a certificate of recognition and be published on the best practice portal.

EU health info sheets available
The EU has published info sheets on actions under the EU Health Programmes:-
• on Health workforce actions: the info sheet presents actions regarding health workforce skills, training needs, recruitment and retention strategies. It also highlights the EU Joint Action on Health Workforce Planning and Forecasting.
• on Health Technology Assessment (HTA) actions: the info sheet presents actions that analysed and provided guidance on EU cooperation on Health Technology Assessment and also highlights the European Network for Health Technology Assessment.

December (II) 2018

A ‘No Deal’ Brexit and the EU’s Health Programme
The Department of Health and Social Care has published a notice on EU Third Health Programme funding if there's no Brexit deal. It includes:
• The UK is providing funding through the underwrite guarantee and extension to support UK participants to continue to take part in the Third Health Programme projects, subject to eligibility for participation in the project.
• The government is seeking discussions with the European Commission to agree the precise details of eligibility.
• The guarantee means that “in the unlikely event that the UK leaves the EU with no agreement in place, UK organisations, universities and businesses benefiting from the Third Health Programme grant awards will be able to continue without disruption.”
• Recipients of funding who have not been contacted by the department already, should register information about the funding.

Health policy recommendations
The EU’s Health Policy Platform is the main forum for communication and cooperation between health interest groups and organisations, and the European Commission. Presentations and the agreed recommendations calling for actions by the Commission and Member states can be found at the event’s website, covering the 2018 thematic areas:
• Smart Healthy Age-Friendly Environments
• Societal Impact of Pain
• Stimulating fresh fruit and vegetable consumption for healthier European consumers.

New info sheet available on 'Health workforce' actions under the EU Health Programmes

The info sheet presents actions regarding health workforce skills, training needs, recruitment and retention strategies. It also highlights the EU Joint Action on Health Workforce Planning and Forecasting

December (I) 2018

UK funding guarantee: register your EU funded project with UK government
The Cabinet Office has opened an online registration system to allow UK beneficiaries of EU funding programmes to register for the UK funding guarantee in the event of no-deal – this includes the EU’s Third Health Programme. Current UK recipients are invited to provide initial data about their projects. The webpage will remain open after the UK leaves the EU so that UK applicants can continue to register as and when they are informed that their bid has been successful. Full details, FAQs page and the pro-forma are available on GOV.UK.

House of Lords EU Committee spotlights reciprocal healthcare in Brexit Political Declaration
The House of Lords EU Committee has published its report on the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration. Within this it expresses concern at the omission of any reference to reciprocal healthcare, including the European Health Insurance Card, in the Political Declaration. It calls on the Government to set out, as a matter of urgency, its plans for maintaining reciprocal healthcare arrangements in the context of the future relationship.

European Reference Networks and how they can help patients with rare or complex diseases
Want to know more about the EU’s European Reference Networks and how they are aiming to help patients with low-prevalence rare or complex diseases? ERNs are “virtual networks” which discuss the diagnosis and the best possible treatment for patients from all over Europe.
24 ERNs were launched in 2017, involving more than 900 highly specialised healthcare teams,
located in more than 300 hospitals in 26 European countries. Find out more in this new leaflet and video link (21 November 2018).

Publication – how Spain is reinventing healthcare around patients
In healthcare there is traditionally a focus on measuring activity rather than the outcomes that matter to patients. At a conference in September, patient advocates, doctors, scientists and industry representatives heard about Spanish initiatives to measure outcomes, analyse data, and reorganise payment systems. Primary care facilities in Spain involved in these experiments are reporting the health of patients is improving while the cost of treatment is falling. The conference report is available.

November (II) 2018

Committee queries ‘no deal’ Brexit contingency planning for access to medicines and medical products
What work has been undertaken to ensure the import of medicines and medical products is treated as a priority at the border in the event of no deal? This and other questions have been raised by the EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee in a letter to Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. The Committee is asking for clarity on the Government’s contingency preparations to ensure the UK has continued access to medicines and medical products in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

Health at a glance
The 2018 Health at a Glance: Europe joint report of the European Commission and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has been published. Key findings include:
• Large disparities in life expectancy persist by sex and socioeconomic status. It finds that on average across the EU, 30-year-old men with a ‘low level’ of education can expect to live about 8 years less than those with a university degree.
• Over 84,000 people died of the consequences of mental health problems across Europe in 2015. The total costs arising from mental health problems are estimated to amount to over €600 billion per year.
• Nearly 40% of adolescents report at least one binge-drinking event in the preceding month.
• Low-income households are five times more likely to report unmet care needs than high-income households.
Individual Country Health Profiles for all EU countries will be published in 2019.

November (I) 2018

Government writes to medical products sector on no-deal Brexit arrangements
The Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, has written to suppliers and manufacturers of medical devices and products in the UK to announce that the Department of Health is undertaking contingency planning in the case of a ‘no deal Brexit’. In his letter Mr Hancock explains that NHS supply chain officials are working to be in contact with industry suppliers, particularly those who routinely import products from other EU countries. The letter also says that the Government has established an industry roundtable to shape its contingency plans, one aspect of which will be to continue to recognise products marked with the EU’s CE mark to avoid disruptions to supply post-no deal Brexit.

Vaccine confidence in the EU
A new study published by the European Commission shows that confidence in vaccination is declining. Alongside this, a second report highlights a lack of coordination and significant differences in national vaccination strategies. The EU identifies key issues as tackling misinformation and lack of awareness of the risks posed by diseases preventable through vaccination, and its proposal for strengthening cooperation earlier this year.

October (II) 2018

Public consultation on medicines for children and rare disease
The European Commission is inviting citizens and healthcare professionals to share their experiences with and perspectives on access to orphan medicines in general, and on the role the EU Regulation plays in the development of orphan medicines. The consultation concerns both medicines for rare diseases and paediatric diseases that qualify as rare. A rare or orphan disease has been defined in the EU as a disease that affects no more than five in 10,000 people. The deadline for response is 4 January 2019.

Active and Assistive Living Challenge Prize awarded to innovative UK projects for their solutions for active and healthy ageing
Two UK projects, PlaceCal and Refresh, have been awarded the 2nd and 3rd prizes at the Active and Assistive Living (AAL) forum on 24 September in Bilbao. The 2018 Smart Ageing Prize is a joint initiative by AAL and Nesta’s Challenge Prize Centre, which aims to highlight innovative projects that use digital technologies to facilitate active and healthy ageing. PlaceCal was awarded €10,000 for its work in creating a social network to improve the quality, quantity and accessibility of community data. Refresh by How Do I, was awarded €5,000 for the creation of a smart application aimed at supporting individuals with memory loss. The top prize of €35,000 was awarded to the Norwegian initiative, KOMP, a one-button computer aimed at facilitating communication between generations.

EU Health Award for NGOs working on preventing tobacco use
The European Commission has chosen eleven initiatives for the 2018 EU Health Award for NGOs which this year focusses on NGOs that have contributed to a higher level of public health by working on preventing tobacco use. Candidates include the Irish Cancer Society’s X-HALE Youth Smoking Prevention Programme. For more information on this and the other initiatives, see the award website. The winners will be announced on 12 November 2018.

Cross-border access to genomic health data
The Netherlands has recently signed the declaration 'Towards access to at least 1 million sequenced genomes in the EU by 2022', becoming the 18th EU Member State to participate in the joint European effort to deliver cross-border access to genomic health data. The initiative was launched in April 2018, and the UK is a signatory. The Commission will support setting up a voluntary coordination mechanism of public authorities to link genomic medicine initiatives.

Antibiotic diagnostics report shows downward trend in innovation
A new report highlights a decline in the number of new point-of-care technologies being created to diagnose infectious disease and identify pathogens and antimicrobial resistance (AMR). It also points to a lack of available grants and venture capital funding for tests. The study of patent filings was released by Marks & Clerk and CPA Global for the Longitude Prize.

October (I) 2018

Report on cross-border healthcare
Over the last three years, the Directive on Cross-border Healthcare has guaranteed patients' rights to receive healthcare in another Member State. A European Commission report has found that patient mobility within the EU remains relatively low and the Directive has not resulted in significant budgetary impacts on national health systems. Cross-border patient mobility within the EU has slightly increased in the last three years, as citizens have more access to information.

EU Health Policy Platform invites stakeholders to submit initiatives
The European Commission is inviting public health stakeholders to submit initiatives for a new cycle of Thematic Networks under the EU Health Policy Platform. The purpose is to produce a Joint Statement within a year, summarising the common position of a group of stakeholder organisations on selected public health topics. These will advise the European Commission.

EU Health ministers prioritise digital health
At the informal meeting of health ministers in Vienna in September, the discussion focussed on the use of electronic communication in healthcare and investment in digital health, as well as discussing regulatory requirements for medicinal products. EU member states agreed to work with the European Commission to develop promotion and investment programmes in the eHealth sector.

September (II) 2018

Project helps older people to access public services digitally
The EU-funded Mobile Age project helps older people to make full use of the public services to which they are entitled. The project ensures the inclusion of seniors in digital public services thanks to the development of user-friendly mobile applications based on open government data. It supports access to civic participation, involvement in communities, and helps people benefit from open government data and mobile technologies. The project is currently running four pilot initiatives where mobile applications are tested at co-creation workshops held in the UK (South Lakeland), Germany, Spain and Greece.

Challenges in long-term care in Europe - A study of national policies 2018
This study provides a description of the main features of the national long-term care systems in thirty-five European countries. A synthesis report presents a comparative analysis and individual country reports analyse four challenges:
• access to and adequacy of long-term care provisions;
• issues related to the employment situation of carers;
• the quality of LTC provision and jobs; and
• the financial sustainability of national long-term care provisions.

September (I) 2018

Department of Health & Social Care technical notice in case of no Brexit deal
On 23 August the UK government published a series of technical notes on matters related to health in the case of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

How medicines, medical devices and clinical trials would be regulated
- Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) will take on functions currently undertaken by EU for medicines on the UK market. For medicines currently licenced through the European Medicines Authority, the MRHA will write to Marketing Authorisation Holders before 29 March 2019 to inform them of the ‘grandfathering’ conversion process. The exact requirements of this are subject to consultation.
- The MHRA will consult in early autumn 2018, including on legislative changes, and a more comprehensive technical notice for life sciences will follow this.
Medical Devices:-
- The UK will comply with all key elements of the EU’s Medical Devices Regulation and In Vitro Diagnostic Regulations which will apply in the EU from May 2020 and 2022 respectively.
- For a time-limited period it will continue to recognise CE-marked devices, and devices will be accepted on the UK market if they meet all EU requirements. Future processes beyond this will be ‘subject to consultation in due course’.
Clinical Trials:-
- The 2004 regulations will remain in place, modified under the EU (Withdrawal) Act to continue after exit. The new EU Clinical Trials Regulation will not be incorporated into UK law before exit. The UK will align with the CTR where possible - subject to parliamentary approval.
- UK clinical trials will be authorised by the MHRA as at present, and UK will continue to be able to participate in multinational trials. MHRA have started pilot work on a single application and decision process in the UK, this will be developed post-Brexit.

Batch testing medicines
- The UK would continue to accept batch testing of human medicines carried out in countries named on a list set out by the MHRA. On exit day this would include EU countries, other EEA countries, and third countries with which the EU has a Mutual Recognition Agreement. These arrangements will continue until the government considers a change necessary, giving at least two years notice.

Submitting regulatory information on medical products
- The EU regulatory networks for medicines and medical devices have shared processes whereby information is submitted into one place for it to be shared will all EU and EEA countries. This would end and the UK would have its own processes and systems. Some new systems are being developed for March 2019, with national portal(s) for the submission of regulatory information. Guidance on the new systems will be provided later this year.

Other technical notices are available on:
Labelling tobacco products and e-cigarettes
Ensuring blood and blood products are safe
Quality and safety of organs, tissues and cells
Contingency planning:
Medicines Supply Contingency Planning Programme

Information about new medical devices regulations
The two new EU Regulations on medical devices and on in vitro medical devices were adopted in April 2017 and will enter into force in spring 2020 and 2022 respectively. A website has been launched to provide manufacturers and health care providers with further details and a guidance package.

2 Seas Programme – New Call
The Interreg 2 Seas programme has opened a new call for Concept Notes. The deadline for submitting project proposals is 21 December.
• Note: Priority Axis 1 - Specific Objective 1.3: Increase the development of social innovation applications in order to make more efficient and effective local services to address the key societal challenges in the 2 Seas area.
The target sectors are those related to some of the key societal challenges included in Horizon 2020 and the European Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing:
- Health, demographic change and well-being;
- Europe in a changing world – inclusive, innovative and reflective societies;
- Secure societies – protecting freedom and security of Europe and its citizens.

An introductory video to European Reference Networks
European Reference Networks are cross-border cooperation platforms between specialists for the diagnosis and treatment of rare or low prevalence complex diseases. Twenty-four ERNs are bringing together over 900 highly specialised healthcare units from 26 countries. These are working together on a wide range of issues, from bone disorders to haematological diseases, from paediatric cancer to immunodeficiency - joining up the EU's best expertise to benefit patients with diseases requiring highly specialised healthcare where the expertise is rare. Find out more in this introductory video.

The Swedish government has invested in an innovation centre for life sciences
The Testa Center is a new, government-sponsored test-bed for verifying innovative digital, technical or biological tools used for the industrial manufacture of biologicals in an authentic production environment, and getting them to market faster. The Swedish government has invested around EUR 10 million, and the centre is owned and operated as a non-profit company by GE Healthcare.

Newton Fund and EUREKA GlobalStars: affordable health in India
UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £1 million to collaborate and address the challenges of affordable and accessible healthcare in India. Registration closes on 27 September 2018 12:00pm.

July (II) 2018

European Medicines Agency and the Trade Bill
The UK House of Commons has voted (17 July) by 305 to 301 in favour of a new clause making it a negotiating objective for the government to secure an international agreement through which the UK may continue to participate in the European medicines regulatory network partnership between the EU, EEA and the European Medicines Agency (EMA). This new Clause 17 in the Trade Bill aims to ensure ‘that patients continue to have access to high-quality, effective and safe pharmaceutical and medical products, fully aligned with the member states of the EU and EEA.’

New Joint Action between participating EU Member States to tackle health inequalities in Europe is launched
Forty-nine participants from 25 EU Member States will work together to address health inequalities and underlying social determinants of health across Europe with a special focus on migrants and vulnerable people. It is coordinated by the Italian Institute of Public Health. The Joint Action Health Equity in Europe is funded under the 3rd EU Health Programme and launched in June. Follow it on Twitter @JAHEE25

Study on cross-border healthcare
A study on cross-border healthcare has found that people are still generally unaware of their rights and the possibility to access health services in other EU Member States, as well as of the existence of National Contact Points (NCPs) to help them exercise their rights. It develops a ‘toolbox’ and training material to help NCPs and a set of Guiding Principles and indicators. The study feeds into the upcoming implementation report on the operation of the Cross-border Healthcare Directive due in October. NHS England website on healthcare abroad.

Report - Digital health: A time to act
A report of a Healthy Measures High-Level Roundtable in Vienna in May 2018. Patient advocates, medical doctors, scientists, industry representatives and policymakers discussed how digital health technologies have reached the stage of maturity where they are ready to be applied at scale, such as Austria’s national Electronic Health Record system.

European and Commonwealth collaboration on digital health
The European Connected Health Alliance (ECHAlliance) and the Commonwealth Centre for Digital Health (CWCDH) have agreed a strategic partnership covering the international deployment of digital health, aiming to help collaboration in international digital health projects and to create economic opportunities.

EU - Japan collaboration on inspections of medicine manufacturers
The European Union and Japan have agreed to broaden the range of medicines for which they will recognise each other’s inspections of manufacturing sites.

June (III) 2018

A new Joint Action to tackle health inequalities in Europe
The Joint Action will see 49 participants from 25 EU Member States collaborating to address health inequalities and the social causes of these inequalities across Europe. This Joint Action is funded under the 3rd EU Health Programme and will receive a contribution of €2.5 million. Special attention will be given to migrants, as poor health and the lack of access to healthcare can hinder migrants’ chances for social integration. Find out more.

Health inequalities: How better use of health data can improve outcomes for all patients
This Science | Business report provides a systematic look at health-outcomes theory and practice across much of the EU reported by health journalists, based on hundreds of interviews and presentations by experts in health policy, data management, patient rights, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and health insurance. It can be purchased online.

Commission launches the first European Sustainability Award
The Commission has launched its first ever European Sustainability Award to recognise the efforts and creativity of European businesses, organisations and individuals who work towards reaching the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This year, the theme of the award is “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”. The competition is open to 4 stakeholder categories: Youth; Public bodies; Private bodies; Civil society. The winners will be announced in the spring of 2019. Applications can be submitted until 14 September 2018.

June (II) 2018

Silver Economy Study: How to stimulate the economy by hundreds of millions of Euros per year
Produced to help the European Commission in its development of a European strategy, the study estimates a baseline value of €3.7 trillion (2015) for Europe’s Silver Economy, primarily comprising private expenditure by older people (50 plus) on various goods and services, from housing to recreation. Based on the study's assumptions, it has the potential to expand by approximately 5% per year up to 2025, to €5.7 trillion. Find out more.

Booklet on EU-funded actions for better preparedness and coordination in health crisis
The Health Threats 2009-2018 booklet presents examples of activities funded under health programmes that have helped to improve health security in the EU.

June (I) 2018

Future Health funding proposals published
The European Commission has published its regulatory proposal for ESF+ from 2021-2027. ESF+ will incorporate the successor programme to the current Third Health Programme. One of ESF+’s three main strands covers initiatives aiming at ‘preventing health risks and promoting public health’, with a budget of €413 million (current prices). This is a reduction from the current Health Programme budget.

The health strand will:
• Strengthen crisis-preparedness and response in the EU to protect citizens against cross-border health threats;
• Strengthen health systems, by supporting the digital transformation of health and care, the development of a sustainable EU health information system, and national reform processes for health systems;
• Support EU legislation on public health (medicines, Health Technology Assessments, tobacco, cross-border care);
• Support integrated work: implementation of best practices to support structural innovation in public health (e.g. European Reference Networks, HTA and implementation of best practices in health promotion health, disease prevention and management).

Member states through the Council will need to unanimously agree on the budget and legislative proposal, along with the consent of the European Parliament. The Commission says it will do everything in its power to facilitate a swift agreement before the European Parliament elections in May 2019.

If the UK becomes, post-Brexit, a third country in relation to this programme, it could exceptionally be eligible to participate in the health strand ‘where this is necessary for the achievement of the objectives of a given action’, but at its own cost. Also exceptionally, during a crisis caused by a serious cross-border health threat, costs incurred in non-associated countries ‘may be considered exceptionally eligible if they are duly justified for reasons of countering the spread of the risk for the protection of health of EU citizens’.

EU funding for health-related matters will exist outside ESF+, particularly in Horizon Europe. The Commission has produced a short factsheet.

Best practices in public health funded by the EU’s Health Programme
The European Commission has launched an online portal for consulting good and best practices collected in actions co-funded under the Health Programmes and submitting practices for assessment.

Smart Ageing Prize 2018 shortlist
The annual Smart Ageing Prize is organised by the Active and Assisted Living (AAL) Programme and Nesta’s Challenge Prize Centre. Ninety-five applications were received addressing the brief: 'products and services that use innovative digital technologies to support older people to participate fully in social life'. Three UK initiatives are among the 15 semi-finalists:
• Link-ages is an innovative app suite designed to enable older people to learn to communicate online and connect with their family.
• How Do I? is a mobile app and content creation platform that links video to living and working spaces.
• PlaceCal is a partnership of community organisations, charities, social housing providers, government services, health providers, and citizens.

EU Ageing Report 2018
The Ageing Report looks at the economic and fiscal implications of Europe's ageing population and is published by the Ageing Working Group of the Economic Policy Committee every three years. It looks at projections of costs linked to pensions, health care and long-term care to year 2070. The old-age dependency ratio (people aged 65 and above relative to those aged 15-64) in the EU is projected to increase by 21.6%, implying that the EU would go from having 3.3 working-age people for every person aged over 65 years to only two working-age persons.

May (II) 2018

Public Health Best Practices Portal
The European Commission has launched a Best Practices Portal on health promotion, disease prevention and management of non-communicable diseases. The portal is a one-stop shop for consulting good and best practices collected in actions co-funded under the EU’s Health Programmes and submitting practices for assessment.

The portal brings together good practices from projects on nutrition, physical activity, mental health, health inequalities, reducing alcohol-related harm and integrated care. It also allows for submission of practices for assessment, from which the ‘best’ practices will be selected and shared with the Member States' Steering Group on Health Promotion, Disease Prevention and Management of Non-Communicable Diseases.

Publication - The missing link in the EU’s plan on digital health: citizens’ empowerment and endorsement
The European Policy Centre report argues that the European Commission’s communication on the digital transformation of health and care fails to take into account a critical precondition: citizens’ ability and willingness to engage in the transition.

The April 2018 communication includes measures to make it possible for citizens to access and share health data safely. It puts forward actions to pool data across Europe to boost research and the development of personalised medicine. It also presents ways to promote the scaling up of digitally-enabled person-centred care models.

The report concludes that “the success of the digital transformation will hinge on the empowerment of and endorsement by healthcare professionals, patients, and caregivers. Education and trust are key.”

AAL2business launched
AAL2business provides business support services to companies under the Active and Assisted Living (AAL) programme. The goal of these services is to increase effectiveness of business development in AAL projects and to improve projects’ changes to reach the market. Activities are focused on entrepreneurs from AAL-funded projects.

May (I) 2018

Digital transformation of health and care
The uptake of digital solutions for health and care remains slow and varies greatly across Member States and regions, the European Commission concludes in its Communication on enabling the digital transformation of health and care in the Digital Single Market; empowering citizens and building a healthier society. The Communication follows on from The council conclusions in December 2017 calling for Member States and the Commission to work together and seize the potential of digital technologies in health and care. It proposes to build the necessary cooperation and infrastructure across the EU and makes a series of proposals for actions in the areas of:
• Citizens' secure access to and sharing of health data.
• Including: on the technical specifications for a European electronic health record exchange format.
• Better data to promote research, disease prevention and personalised health and care.
• Including: supporting the development of technical specifications for secure access and cross-border exchange of genomic and other health datasets within the internal market for research purposes.
• Digital tools for citizen empowerment and for person-centred care.
• Including: the exchange of innovative and best practices, capacity building and technical assistance for health and care authorities.
The Commission has also published an infographic of policy on health care in the Digital Single Market.

EU cooperation on vaccination against preventable diseases proposals
The European Commission is issuing a set of recommendations for how the EU can strengthen cooperation in the fight against diseases that can be prevented by vaccines. It is proposing that Member States agree a set of joint measures, in the form of a Council Recommendation, on vaccine preventable diseases. It focuses on three areas for action: tackling vaccine hesitancy and improving vaccination coverage; sustainable vaccination policies in the EU; and EU coordination and contribution to global health. The Commission's proposal will be discussed by the Council, with the aim of seeing it adopted before the end of 2018, with an immediate entry into force.

Evaluating the EU’s blood, tissues and cells legislation
The European Commission is currently carrying out an evaluation of the EU blood and tissues and cells legislation. The public consultation has found that while the majority of the respondents think the legislation had made blood, tissues and cells safer in the EU, the legislation is not up-to-date with scientific, technological, epidemiological or societal developments. Some requirements might be missing or are inadequate: provisions for the protection of the living donors; ensuring quality; safety and efficacy in the recipient; and ensuring sufficiency of supply. An independent evaluation of the legislation will follow and a final Evaluation Report published at the end of the year.

Invitation to join the Health Workforce Planning and Forecasting Expert Network
The Joint Tender “Support for the health workforce planning and forecasting expert network” aims to set up an expert network and solve real-life problems in workforce planning processes, by bringing experts together with those who are seeking to build expertise. The network provides access to a hub for the exchange of expertise, good practices and knowledge sharing. Find out more about the invitation to join the network.

April 2018

Brexit and reciprocal healthcare
The House of Commons EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee has reported on Brexit and reciprocal Healthcare. It notes the Government’s ambition to continue access to reciprocal healthcare provided by the current arrangements – and that December’s ‘Joint Report’ by the UK and EU Brexit negotiators went some way to guaranteeing reciprocal healthcare entitlements. In broad terms, those UK citizens accessing healthcare in the EU, and EU citizens doing the same in the UK at the time of Brexit, will have their rights protected to continued access to healthcare. This means that visitors to the UK or the EU receiving emergency treatment will be able to finish their treatment. Those who are legally resident would have their access protected for life.

However, the Committee highlights that the Joint Report has two significant omissions in particular:

  • It does not cover the right of UK citizens resident in the EU at the time of Brexit to move between EU Member States. Nor does it cover the position of EU27 citizens resident in the UK on Exit Day who subsequently leave the UK and then return. It calls on the Government to seek to add to the Withdrawal Agreement provision for onward free movement rights.
  • Nor does the Joint Report say anything about whether and how the reciprocal healthcare entitlements of those people who fall outside its scope will be protected post-Brexit. These people’s rights are due to be discussed in the next phase of the Brexit talks, which will address the future EU-UK relationship. But in the absence of an agreement on future relations, the rights currently enjoyed through the European Health Insurance Card, will cease after Brexit. Other rights, provided for by the S2 scheme and Patients’ Rights Directive, which cover planned treatment in other EU Member States, will also come to an end.
Without more detail from the Government about how it intends to maintain reciprocal healthcare arrangements or provide a suitable replacement, this report argues the future of UK-EU reciprocal healthcare should not be taken for granted.

Mayor of London report: Post-Brexit Access to Medicines and Medical Technologies
The report concludes that “staying in the EU Single Market and Customs Union would ensure that patients can continue to have the same access to innovative treatments and clinical trials that could extend, save or improve lives.”

EU27 Technical expert seminar on pharmaceuticals and Brexit
In March the EU held a technical expert seminar on pharmaceuticals related matters, following Brexit. Presentations and minutes are available online. Preparedness measures taken by the EU medicines regulatory network include:

  • Updated information notices and procedural guidance for procedures to marketing authorisation holders 
  • Awareness meetings with industry associations 
  • Redistribution of the workload 
  • European Medicines Agency survey to companies on Brexit preparedness 
  • Heads of Medicines Agencies dedicated Brexit Taskforce set up.

European countries sign a declaration for delivering cross-border access to their genomic information

The Declaration of Cooperation: Towards access to at least 1 million sequenced genomes in the European Union by 2022 commits the thirteen signatory Member States – including the UK - to collaborate on the secure and authorised access to national and regional banks of genetic data and other data relevant for health, in particular to:-

  • Bring together fragmented infrastructure and expertise supporting a shared and tangible goal: One million genomes accessible in the EU by 2022;
  • Leverage and maximise the investments already made by Member States at national and EU level, particularly in sequencing, bio banking and data infrastructure;
  • Reaching a larger cohort that will provide a sufficient scale for new clinically impactful research.

Health in the next EU budget
EUREGHA’s response to the consultation on the priorities for the next Multi-annual Financial Framework post-2020 makes the case for investing in health. It reiterates the European Parliament’s resolution that the EU should continue to invest in a “robust new generation of the Health Programme”, and calls for some changes to support stronger regional participation to the programme. The exchange of policies, practices and capacity building among local and regional authorities is crucial because they are at the forefront of prevention and care. The full response is available

Using advanced materials for medical devices and regenerative medicine
The European Society for Biomaterials (ESB) has published a report on the biomaterials research translation in Europe. It maps out the current research, innovation, consultancy and state-of- the-art facilities across Europe. It also identifies potential sources of funding and investments, research trends, success stories and gaps to be filled.

March (II) 2018

Better Training for Safer Food initiative
Better Training for Safer Food (BTSF) is a European Commission initiative aimed at organising a training strategy in the areas of food law, feed law, animal health and animal welfare rules, as well as plant health rules. Presentations from the March 2018 Information Day are available. To find out more about the initiative visit the Chafea website.

European Commission public consultation on health risks of oil & gas exploration in the EU
Interested parties are invited to submit their comments on the scientific evidence online until 6 May 2018. Among the suggestions in the preliminary opinion are:

  • A centralised inventory of all oil and gas exploration and exploitation sites in the EU;
  • Studies that identify, quantify and characterise exposure mixtures and levels;
  • Targeted biomonitoring studies of populations potentially at risk; and
  • Large-scale epidemiological studies with accurate exposure assessment.

Publication - From Patent to Patient: Healthcare biotechnology at the heart of European innovation
A report by EuropaBio, the European Association for Bioindustries. EuropaBio conducted a survey of a cross section of stakeholders, including SMEs and venture capitalists involved in the healthcare biotechnology community in order better to understand the importance of Intellectual Property rewards and incentives.

March (I) 2018

Report - A new drive for primary care in Europe: rethinking the assessment tools and methodologies
A report by the EU’s Expert Group on Health Systems Performance Assessment (HSPA) examines primary care systems, focusing on key functions such as access, coordination of care and continuity of care. It finds that countries experience difficulties in improving performance assessment in primary care due to three main challenges:
  • the complexity of the performance aspects of primary care; 
  • difficulty in integrating assessments into policies; and 
  • pitfalls associated with a culture of excellence. 
It includes recommendations for essential elements in building primary care performance assessment.

European Innovation Partnership for Active and Healthy Ageing

Nearly 400 participants came together in Brussels in February to attend the 6th Conference of Partners of the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Health Ageing (EIP on AHA). Top issues covered included how to align with the Digital Single Market and the future Commission Communication on Digital Transformation of Health and Care. Recorded proceedings can be found on the Commission website.

Silver Economy Awards shortlist
Thirty-one European organisations and companies have been shortlisted as best digital solutions for seniors. The Awards are an opportunity to raise awareness around the Silver Economy, which includes all economic activities that concern older people.
The three categories that will be awarded are:

  • Profit organisations
  • Public authorities
  • Non-profit organisations
The Silver Economy Awards are organised by the EU-funded SEED project.

February (II) 2018

Expert Panel on Investing in Health – 3 new opinions published
The Expert Panel on effective ways of investing in health is an interdisciplinary and independent group of scientists established by the European Commission, which provides advice in the form of opinions in response to questions submitted by the Commission. They have recently published three opinions relating to:
It should be noted that the Opinions are those of the scientists on the Expert Panel and do not necessarily represent the views of the European Commission.

February (I) 2018

Brexit and the impact on access to medicines and medical technologies
The Brexit Health Alliance is calling for the prioritisation of future cooperation on medical devices and medicines in Brexit negotiations – to ensure no negative impact on patients and a guarantee on patient safety and public health. In a new Briefing paper it highlights the risk that certain medicines and medical technologies may be delayed in reaching patients or even become unavailable should no solution be found. The scale of trade is substantial, with 45 million patient packs going to the EU from the UK every month, and 37 million from the EU to the UK. With complex supply chains and harmonized standards, a lack of agreement on cooperation could put supply chains at risk. It also calls for pragmatic solutions allowing participation in EU systems such as data-sharing networks, pharmacovigilance and clinical trials infrastructures post-Brexit.

The Brexit Health Alliance brings together the NHS, medical research, industry, patients and public health organisations, and is co-chaired by Sir Hugh Taylor, the former permanent secretary of the Department of Health and Chair of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, and Niall Dickson, the Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation.

The Alliance works closely with the Cavendish Coalition, which brings bring together health and social care organisations .

Assessing health technology in the EU regulatory proposal
The European Commission has put forward a regulatory proposal to boost cooperation amongst EU Member States for assessing health technology. The proposal comes after more than 20 years of voluntary cooperation in this area. The proposed Regulation on Health Technology Assessment (HTA) covers new medicines and certain new medical devices. It proposes that Member States will work together in four main areas:
- joint clinical assessments focusing on the most innovative health technologies with the most potential impact for patients;
- joint scientific consultations;
- identification of emerging health technologies;
- continuing voluntary cooperation in other areas.
The proposal will now be discussed by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers. If adopted it will become applicable three years later, with a further three-year phasing-in period.
A factsheet on the proposal is available.

EU One-Health Network on AntiMicrobial Resistance
A bi-annual meeting in Brussels in February brings together representatives of chief veterinary officers and chief public health officers from all 28 EU countries, Commission experts, and EU agencies (European Food Safety Authority. European Medicines Agency, and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control). It will consider progress on the EU’s AMR Action Plan, the EU's strategic approach to pharmaceuticals in the environment, supporting activities in developing countries, and funding opportunities. Find out more about the One-Health network and other actions in this area on the Commission website.

Joint Action on Tobacco Control
The new Joint Action on Tobacco Control kicked off in Athens in December 2017. It aims to help Member States implement the Tobacco Products Directive and reduce the number of tobacco-related deaths and illnesses. Find out more about it in the Health EU Newsletter.

Remote monitoring solutions report
Addressing hospitals, health professionals and other stakeholders, the EU-funded eHealth HUB project has published a report comparing over 70 European solutions for remote patient monitoring.

January (II) 2018

Health and ICT in Horizon 2020 from ICT Info Day
The commission has made available videos of the Horizon 2020 ICT proposers day held in Budapest in November 2017. It includes funding opportunities for eHealth, Wellbeing and Ageing projects and the pitches of potential project partners.

Improving the health of people in isolated and vulnerable situations

The VulnerABLE two year project has concluded its scientific report, pulling together the main health challenges facing vulnerable people across the EU and related policy responses. In highlighting the value of multi-faceted strategies in effective targeting of vulnerable groups, anti-poverty strategies in the UK and Portugal are cited as good practice examples of how health issues need to be addressed alongside employment, housing, income and other poverty-related issues. The pilot project was funded by the European Parliament.

January (I) 2018

Control of new psychoactive substances
The Commission is proposing to ban seven new psychoactive substances across the European Union. According to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction these are associated with over 170 deaths across the EU and a number of acute intoxications but are not covered by international drugs controls. The objective is to call on Member States to subject the substances to control measures and criminal penalties according to their legislation. The Commission's proposal will now be discussed in the Council, which, in consultation with the European Parliament, will decide whether to adopt the measures.

Health-related priorities for the Bulgarian Presidency of the EU

Bulgaria holds the EU presidency from January-June 2018. It has identified its healthcare priorities during this time as:

  • Concluding the negotiations on the amendment of the Regulation laying down Community procedures for the authorisation and supervision of medicinal products for human and veterinary use and establishing a European Medicines Agency.
  • Reaching EU Council Conclusions on healthy diet for children.
  • Promoting a debate on medicinal products - to find solutions to the problems related to the shortage of medicinal products for economic reasons, parallel exports and the need to provide medicines that are proven to be effective and at affordable prices.

Study on EU Action Plan on Organ Donation and Transplantation

A new EU report shows a rise in organ donation and transplantation in the EU. Between 2008 and 2015, the number of organ donors increased from 12 000 to nearly 15 000 (a 21% increase). There has been a 17% increase in transplants. Kidney transplants account for 60% of the increase, livers for 24% and hearts for 11%. Spain, France, the UK, Poland and the Netherlands were the five countries with the highest increase in overall numbers. Cross-border exchange of organs plays an important role.

December (II) 2017

2018 Health Programme
The EU has agreed the Health Programme Work Programme for 2018. This funding programme sets out an annual work programme detailing the priorities and actions to be undertaken during the coming year. The overall budget for 2018 is €62 million and will focus on:

  • Support to the European Reference Networks for rare and complex diseases (29% of the budget);
  • Promotion of health and prevention of chronic and major diseases (15%);
  • Strengthening preparedness and response to serious cross-border health threats (15%); and
  • The implementation of EU legislation on medical devices (7%)

Brexit: the implications for health and social care

The UK’s decision to leave the EU will have far-reaching implications for health and social care in England, says The King’s Fund in a publication on “Brexit: the implications for health and social care” which looks at staffing, accessing treatment in the UK and abroad, regulation of medicines and clinical trials, competition law, the Working Time Directive, cross-border co-operation on public health, research collaboration, and funding.

It concludes that Brexit may present some opportunities for example on public health regulation and integration of health services. However, the potential impact on the health and social care workforces, the affordability and supply of drugs and other products as well as the impact on the wider economy means “as the government seeks to negotiate the UK’s future relationship with the EU, it is essential that the issues we have identified here are high on the agenda.”

Brexit advice for pharmaceutical companies
European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Commission have published guidance to help pharmaceutical companies prepare for Brexit. Companies are reminded to anticipate that the UK will leave the EU on 29 March 2019 and plan so as to avoid any impact on the supply of medicines for human and veterinary use within the EU.

An EU roadmap on vaccines
The EU is looking at how better to strengthen cooperation between Member States, industry and other relevant stakeholders at EU level to reinforce vaccination programmes across Europe. It has identified three areas: tackling vaccine hesitancy; sustainable vaccine policies; and EU coordination, including the promotion of stakeholders' dialogue. A public consultation will be launched in December 2017 for 12 weeks open to citizens, patient organisations, the vaccine industry, health associations, civil society, international organisations and the scientific community.

Report - Connecting the dots: Towards a coherent, comprehensive strategy for health sector innovation in Europe
The Science|Business Network of universities, companies and public-sector organisations has published a report of the proceedings of a meeting to discuss healthcare innovations across Europe in the context of mounting pressures of budgetary, political and demographic pressures.

December (I) 2017

State of health in the EU
The European Commission has published a series of reports on the State of Health in the EU. The reports look at the health of the population and the effectiveness, accessibility and resilience of health systems in each EU member state. “By offering comprehensive data and insights, we aim to support national health authorities in tackling the challenges and in making the right policy and investment choices.” said Vytenis Andriukaitis, Commissioner for Health.

The Country Health Profiles were prepared in cooperation with the OECD and the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies. The UK report is available online, along with those of the other countries.

A Companion Report draws cross-cutting conclusions and highlight shared policy objectives, and reveal potential areas where the European Commission can be of help in facilitating mutual learning and exchange of good practice. Cross-cutting themes include:
• Health promotion and disease prevention - pave the way for a more effective and efficient health system
• Strong primary care - guides patients through the health system and helps avoid wasteful spending
• Integrated care - tackles a labyrinth of scattered health services to the benefit of the patient
• Proactive health workforce planning and forecasting - make health systems resilient to future evolutions
• The patient is at the centre of the next generation of better health data for policy and practice
The Commission will support the OECD’s Patient-Reported Indicators Survey (PaRIS). This will focus on patient-reported outcomes and experiences.

Following a presentation of findings to Health Ministries of all EU countries, individual national authorities can voluntarily opt to discuss the reports with the OECD and European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies from the beginning of 2018 to help develop their policy responses if appropriate.

Brexit and reciprocal healthcare
The House of Lords EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee heard from Lord James O'Shaughnessy, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of the Department of Health on the position regarding reciprocal healthcare. He said that for UK pensioners and residents in the EU on exit day, people abroad in the EU on the day, and those with planned treatment, then reciprocal healthcare is protected. The situation for UK citizens already in an EU country who may subsequently wish to move to another EU country permanently (i.e. future flows) remains to be agreed. The aim for the future is to replicate the current arrangements (for EHIC holders; S1 pensioners and posted workers; S2 for planned medical treatments outside the UK) in a new legal framework through the Brexit negotiation process.

Relocation of the European Medicines Agency
After a selection process that went to the wire, Amsterdam has been chosen as the new seat for the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Currently based in London, the EMA is responsible for the scientific evaluation, supervision and safety monitoring of medicines in the EU. Amsterdam’s bid can be found online. The EMA was considered a prize, with its well-paid employees, being at the heart of the drug approval system and related research and development industry, and with tens of thousands of experts coming to meetings.

Health Commissioner awards 3 NGOs for outstanding initiatives
During the EU Health Policy Platform annual meeting in Brussels, Vytenis Andriukaitis, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, awarded the EU Health Award for Health Award for NGOs promoting vaccination – a prize which aims to reward outstanding initiatives by NGOs which have helped achieve higher levels of public health for Europeans through vaccination.

The €20,000 first prize was awarded to SloMSIC Ljubljana from Slovenia, for their innovative awareness-raising campaign against vaccine-hesitancy, "Project Immuno". Not only did the initiative help raise the general public's awareness on the importance of vaccines, but also encouraged other medical student organisations in Europe and around the world to set up a similar activity. Other prizes were awarded to National Network of Health Mediation (NNHM) from Bulgaria and the EU-level European Pharmaceutical Students' Association (EPSA) for their "Vaccination Awareness Public Health Campaign 2016. Read more about the awards or EU action on vaccinations.

November (II) 2017

Information on medicine package leaflets
Medicines sold in the EU are required to contain a package leaflet providing information on the content and the use of the medicine. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has published an published action plan on improving the information. As part of consultation with stakeholders, the EMA is launching a mapping exercise to identify initiatives on digital formats of product information. Feedback should be sent by end of February 2018 to ePI@ema.europa.eu or through the survey.

EU workshops on anti microbial resistance (AMR)
The European Commission is organising a series of 15 workshops under the Better Training for Safer Food (BTSF) programme on the prevention and control of anti microbial resistance. The three-day practical training sessions target officials from the public health, veterinary and food producing sectors in all 28 EU countries.

November (I) 2017

New joint action plan to foster development of advanced therapies
The European Commission (DG SANTE) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) have published a joint action plan to foster the development of advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs). ATMPs are medicines for human use that are based on genes or cells. The aim of the joint action plan is to streamline procedures and better address the requirements of developers. The planned joint actions include:
• guidelines on good manufacturing practice;
• dialogue with national competent authorities to reduce discrepancies in the application of GMO rules;
• scientific guidelines to clarify regulatory expectations.
Find out more at the EU website on medicinal products for human use.

Good practices sought in community-based mental health services and integrated governance
The EU-Compass for Action on Mental Health and Well-being is collecting good practices in mental health, and invites a broad range of mental health stakeholders from public, private and NGO sectors to propose activities to be included in a European good practice brochure. At this time, it is looking for good practices in community-based mental health services and developing integrated governance approaches. Submission is open until 15 November.

October (II) 2017

House of Lords Committee discusses reciprocal healthcare
The EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee is taking evidence on reciprocal healthcare after Brexit from representatives of UK citizens in the EU, and EU citizens in the UK. Two evidence sessions will cover the reciprocal healthcare implications of Brexit for UK citizens travelling, living and/or working in the rest of the EU, and for EU citizens travelling, living and/or working in the UK, in both the short and medium term.

Health Programme reviewed
The EU has published its mid-term evaluation covering the first three years of the Health Programme. It identifies three points of success, with the Programme helping to:
- establish 24 European Reference Networks for rare diseases, sharing the best expertise available in Europe,
- increase Member States' capacity-building potential to respond to outbreaks such as Ebola and Zika viruses,
- support countries in responding to the health needs of migrants and refugees and training health professionals and support staff.
It concludes that the programme’s priorities remain valid and most actions deliver useful outcomes with high EU-added value, in particular for crisis management and for the safety and security in Europe. Public consultation provided strong support for continued cooperation through the Programme, particularly in areas such as health promotion, disease prevention and eHealth.

October (I) 2017

EU and UN - FAO working together on food waste and antimicrobial resistance
The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the EU have signed a letter of intent pledging to work closely together. The aims are to:

  • halve per capita food waste by 2030, a goal established under the new Sustainable Development Goals global agenda. Globally, one-third of all food produce for human consumption – 1.3 billion tonnes - is lost or wasted, each year, causing massive financial losses while squandering natural resources. In Europe alone, around 88 million tonnes of food are wasted each year, with associated costs estimated at €143 billion, according to EU estimates.
  • intensify cooperation on tackling the spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) on farms and in food systems. The increased use - and abuse - of antimicrobial medicines in both human and animal healthcare has contributed to an increase in the number of disease-causing microbes that are resistant to antimicrobial medicines used to treat them.
The FAO is leading an international effort to improve global measurement of food loss and waste, the European Commission is working to develop a methodology for measuring food waste as part of its “Action Plan for the Circular Economy”. In June, the EU Commission adopted a new EU Action Plan on AMR, which focuses specifically on tackling the problem within food chains.
As well as maximising the opportunities for leveraging the knowledge and resources of the two organisations, the FAO and the EU will support governments in implementing standards and guidelines related to AMR adopted by the Codex Alimentarius Commission.

September (II) 2017

Digital Health Society Declaration
An initiative under the auspices of the Estonian Presidency of EU is inviting stakeholders in the development of digital health to take part in a consultation process for a Digital Health Society (DHS) Declaration. The declaration calls on EU players to act on the current main challenges to digital health deployment. It will be co-signed during the high-level e-health conference taking place from 16 - 18 October in Tallinn, Estonia. In addition, the DHS has set up four Task Forces facilitated by ECHAlliance which will report in the Autumn, and launched a cross-country European health data cooperation network.
Declaration website

Strategies to prevent and treat HIV, Hepatitis, TB and STIs in Europe
The new INTEGRATE Joint Action "From HIV testing and linkage to care to integration of HIV, Hepatitis, TB & STIs" has been launched at an event in Brussels. INTEGRATE is a three year project (2017-2020) co-funded by the EU’s Health Programme. It brings together 29 partners from public health institutions, hospitals, NGOs and universities in sixteen countries including the UK. The main aim of the Joint Action is to integrate early diagnosis and link to prevention and care of HIV, viral hepatitis, TB and STIs in EU countries by 2020.

Find out more at https://chip.dk/Collaborations/INTEGRATE-JOINT-ACTION

September (I) 2017

Life Sciences Industrial Strategy launched
A government-commissioned sector report by immunologist and geneticist John Bell of Oxford University has been published. The Life Sciences Industrial Strategy was developed in consultation with the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy Board which represents the life sciences sector. The strategy aims to position the UK to take advantage of health technology trends through proposing the establishment of a Health Advanced Research Programme for ambitious projects, creating four UK life sciences within 10 years; attracting 2,000 new discovery scientists from around the world; and achieving a 50 percent increase in the number of clinical trials.

It addresses challenges under five main themes:

- Science: continued support for the science base, maintaining strength and international competitiveness.
- Growth: an environment that encourages companies to start and grow, building on strengths across the UK, including expansion of manufacturing in the sector.
- NHS: NHS and industry collaboration, facilitating better care for patients through better adoption of innovative treatments and technologies.
- Data: making the best use of data and digital tools to support research and better patient care.
- Skills: ensuring that the sector has access to a pool of talented people to support its aims through a strong skills strategy.

The report also highlights:
- The need to establish a migration system that allows the recruitment and retention of highly skilled workers from the EU and beyond, and does not impede intra-company transfers.
- That the UK should continue to be involved in the EU’s Innovative Medicines Initiative which is important for academic-industry collaboration.
- That consideration needs to be given to how access to the European Investment Bank or the European Investment Fund can be maintained or replaced with another source. These provide significant core funding for UK venture capital and are an essential part of the investment capital landscape.
- Industry’s view is that the UK should continue to work closely with the European Medicines Agency to deliver the best regulatory service for patients across the EU and UK.
- If managed carefully, EU exit may be used as a catalyst to take steps to speed the growth of the life sciences sector in the UK.
- Outside the EU the UK may continue to benefit from its approaches to data-sharing regulations and stem cell research.

In welcoming the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy at the launch in Brirmingham, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced £14 million funding for eleven medical technology research centres to support collaboration between the NHS and industry. Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Greg Clark, announced £146 million for projects supporting advanced therapies, advanced medicines and vaccines development and manufacturing.

EU countries offer to host European Medicines Agency post-Brexit 
The EU has received 19 offers to host the European Medicines Agency (EMA) post-Brexit. The agency is currently headquartered in London. It is responsible for:

  • facilitating the development and access to medicines;
  • evaluating applications for marketing authorisation;
  • monitoring the safety of medicines across their lifecycle;
  • providing information to healthcare professionals and patients.

The European Commission will publish an assessment of the offers at the end of September and the decision is expected in November. 

Antimicrobial resistance and healthcare-associated infections
A Joint Action on Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare-Associated Infections (EU-JAMRAI) will be launched on 13 September 2017 at the French Ministry of Health in Paris. The Joint Action brings together participating EU member states and international organisations, institutes, and universities in order to contribute towards tackling antimicrobial resistance and healthcare-associated infections. More than 44 partners and 22 collaborating stakeholders will be participating. The Joint Action is funded under the EU’s Third Health Programme.

Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership raises funds
The UK has pledged up to £1 million to help develop new treatments to fight against antibiotic resistance. The overall pledges from Germany (of over €51 million) and other countries and organisations during a fundraising event for the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership (GARDP) amounted to €56.5 million. Launched in May 2016 by the World Health Organization and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), GARDP aims to develop and deliver new treatments for bacterial infections where drug resistance is present or emerging, or for which inadequate treatment exists.

Office for National Statistics data on British pensioners in other EU countries
The ONS has published an analysis addressing the question of how many British pensioners live in other EU countries, and how many pensioners from other EU countries live in the UK. Discussions around future UK-EU relationships will include the future arrangements for residency, work, education, social security and healthcare for UK citizens living in other EU countries and EU citizens living in the UK.

July (II) 2017

Health and Care in the Digital Single Market
The European Commission has published an open consultation on Health and Care in the Digital Single Market. The consultation will feed into a new Policy Communication to be adopted by the end of 2017.

The consultation, which is open until 12 October, seeks to collect information on:

  • Cross-border access and portability of personal health data
  • Sharing of resources (scientific research expertise, data capacity and advanced digital infrastructure) that will accelerate research and advance prevention, treatment and personalised medicine;
  • Measures to ensure widespread uptake of digital innovations, enabling more patient centered and integrated healthcare, and allowing for feedback and interaction between patients and healthcare providers
The consultation aims to define the need and scope of policy measures that will promote digital innovation in improving people’s health, and address systemic challenges to healthcare systems.

A healthy Brexit
Brexit will have significant consequences for the NHS, as highlighted by the Health Select Committee and the Nuffield Trust. Professor Jean McHale looks at the reports and ponders how the UK’s departure from the EU might affect the nation’s health, including:
• Health service funding
• Health service staffing
• Health care of retired UK citizens resident in EU member states
• European Health Insurance Card scheme
• Pharmaceutical regulation and the European Medicines Agency
• Public health and data protection

July (I) 2017

A Digital Health Society
One of the priorities of the Estonian presidency of the EU is the development of the Digital Single Market and the Digital Economy in Europe including a focus on eHealth. Earlier this year the Commission launched a new Task Force to develop the digital strategy in health which is working across departmental portfolios to develop proposals to harness the potential of data and technology. Conclusions are expected in September 2017.

European Connected Health Alliance (ECHAlliance) is developing the agenda of activities around the concept of the Digital Health Society (DHS) and collaborative ecosystem. A webinar under the auspices of the Estonian presidency has set out the priorities. A multi-stakeholders group is producing a DHS Declaration. 

There is a public consultation to allow stakeholders to have a say on eHealth, the DHS and contribute to the declaration. Deadline for response is 30 August 2017.

Launch of the Social Engagement Framework for Addressing the Chronic-disease-challenge
Funded under the EU Third Health Program, the SEFAC project aims to empower people affected by chronic conditions to take control over their own health. There will be four pilot projects in different regions including Rijeka (Croatia), Treviso (Italy), Rotterdam (the Netherlands), and in Cornwall. Valencia University and Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam will disseminate the outcomes of the pilot projects. 

Online survey for Action on Mental Health and Wellbeing 
The EU-Compass for Action on Mental Health and Wellbeing is a web-based platform which allows for the collection, exchange and analysis of information on policy and stakeholder activities within mental health. Currently, the Compass is collecting information on best practices on mental health through an online survey

Further step towards public health campus
Public Health England has bought the vacant GSK site at Harlow where it plans to build a £400 million world-leading home for public health science.

June 2017 (III)

‘Brexit Health Alliance’ formed to be voice of health sector during Brexit negotiations  
The NHS, medical research, industry, patients and public health organisations have come together to seek to ensure that issues such as healthcare research and patient care quality are given prominence during the UK’s negotiations to leave the EU. Regarding European and UK healthcare cooperation, the Alliance will argue that it is both parties’ interests to maintain research and public health cooperation, as well as to maintain UK citizens’ right to receive healthcare in EU countries. 

eHealth study
A study commissioned by an MEP explores eHealth development rate among European countries and ways eHealth and mHealth solutions can contribute to more cost efficient healthcare systems. The study was presented at the European Parliament in June. It estimates a 2:1 return on eHealth investment and that “on average these solutions could reduce the health expenditures of most European countries by 0.31% GDP”.

Data-related health tech growing fast
Data-related technologies are growing rapidly in European healthcare. The European Data Market Survey reports the growth at 10.2% over 2015-2016. According to this study, data-related technologies are rapidly finding new ground and growing fast in healthcare, but also in ICT, education, housing and the public sector as a whole.

Mobile app for self-assessment of frailty
Porto4Ageing, a member and reference site of the  European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing, has launched a mobile app which enables users to check how frail they are. The app, FrailSurvey, is based on the Groningen Frailty Index. 

June 2017 (II)

West Suffolk recruiting its first Buurtzorg nurses
The West Suffolk Buurtzorg Test and Learn enters a new phase with the first recruitment adverts going live. The team will be in place in early Autumn and will be one of a handful in the country to explore the application of the Dutch approach to community nursing, known as Buurtzorg (which means neighbourhood care).  The nurses will be part of the first ‘self-managed’ team in West Suffolk who will deliver dedicated personal and health care to patients in a small neighbourhood area. The team will work collaboratively with formal and informal networks to ensure provision of holistic patient-centered care that promotes self-management, patient engagement and improves overall patient and staff satisfaction.  Find out more at East of England LGA.

Public consultation on the Third Health Programme 
The Commission has published a review of the responses it received in its recent consultation on the Health Programme

The online open public consultation ran until February 2017 and formed part of the mid-term evaluation of the Third Health Programme. It invited interested parties to express their views and opinions on the programme, focusing on the objectives and priorities, implementation, and the overall added value of the programme. In total, 133 responses to the OPC were received from stakeholders, seven from the UK.
  • Over two thirds stated that the cooperation is essential and should be maintained. Respondents also appeared to share the view that the programme should be maintained in future.
  • Respondents selected their top priorities: tackling chronic diseases; tackling risk factors; health information and knowledge systems to contribute to evidence-based decision-making; developing patient safety and quality of healthcare and measures to prevent anti-microbial resistance.
  • Most concerns raised were around whether the programme best involves health actors and stakeholders' groups by making appropriate use of the different funding mechanisms; and that the financial support is not appropriate to address its objectives.

Innovative ideas in eHealth, UK project
Plymouth University and local and national partners have been awarded EU funding of £2.7 million to improve the use of ehealth in the ‘Ehealth Productivity and Innovation in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly project’ (EPIC). Funded by the European Regional Development Fund the project brings together healthcare stakeholders in the region to determine the best uses of the internet, online applications, software and robotics in healthcare. In addition to supporting small technology companies and emerging start-ups, over £600,000 will be available to clinicians and patients to test and implement innovative ideas.

Consultation on EU legislation on blood, tissues and cells

The European Commission has launched a public consultation for the evaluation of EU legislation on blood, tissues and cells. The consultation is open until 31st August 2017.

June 2017 (I)

Digital health in Europe
The European Commission has published its mid-term review of the Digital Single Market (DSM) strategy. The review calls for a move towards a patient-centred and integrated health care model, it includes:
- the use of e-prescriptions: The Commission is working with member states to ensure citizens can transfer basic medical information electronically when receiving treatment in another member state.
- pooling medical expertise: The European Reference Networks created this year are an example of pooling medical expertise and data for faster diagnosis and treatment of rare and complex diseases. Health data generated in the EU and processed with patients' explicit consent or other legal grounds permitted by the General Data Protection Regulation and subject to appropriate safeguards, can advance research. 
- Medical devices: Two new Regulations on medical devices were adopted in April 2017 and will become applicable over the next five years. A new EU-wide database on medical devices ('Eudamed') will be established.
The Commission will publish a Communication this year addressing the need and scope for further measures in the area of digital health and care.

Launch of the Silver Economy Awards 
The Silver Economy Awards is a new initiative to reward ICT-based innovative solutions that improve the lives of European seniors and support the growth of the European Silver Economy. If you offer such a solution and you represent a public authority, non-for-profit or for profit organisation, you can apply from the 8th June until the 15th November 2017. You can access further information here regarding the awards and how to apply. 

Centre for Integrated Care at the University of the West of Scotland
Representatives from the Scottish Government, national health and care organisations, and the International Foundation for Integrated Care (IFIC) have considered how they could work together to enhance education, knowledge transfer, research and enterprise on integrated care. This has led to the development of an International Centre for Integrated Care in Scotland, hosted by University of the West of Scotland, and established with policy, delivery, academic, third sector and international partners.

The Centre will host, oversee and seek to generate income to support and extend IFIC Scotland’s portfolio. For example, the Centre will provide a platform for the delivery of education and training activities through IFIC’s Integrated Care Academy, invest in a co-ordinator to support activities including generating content for an IFIC Scotland web presence, and promote UWS’ contribution to international research and knowledge collaborations on integrated people-centred care.

Consultation – EU blood, tissues and cells legislation 

The Commission has launched a public consultation to gather views on the extent to which the 2002 Directive setting standards of quality and safety for human blood and the 2004 Directive setting standards for human tissues and cells, have met their original objectives and whether they remain fit for purpose. The consultation will run until the 31st of August. Interested parties are invited to participate online and can access further relevant information here

Reducing underage and heavy drinking locally – ‘Localize It!’ project launched

Localize It!” is a new project funded under the 3rd EU Health programme that aims at strengthening municipalities in their capacity to reduce underage and heavy episodic drinking. It is looking at seven different alcohol prevention settings: parental work; schools; children in families with alcohol problems; alcohol in public space; party scenes; festivals; gastronomy and retail; refugees and traffic safety. The good practices identified will be developed for individual local action plans.

May 2017 (II)

Friends of Europe report into ‘disruptive models’ in healthcare
To mark eHealth Week 2017, the Friends of Europe report looks at the steps needed to create ‘disruptive models’ to improve health systems in the EU. It sets out seven key recommendations:
- Use incentives to redesign health systems towards health outcomes.
- Make sure that the EU leads on guidelines and standards, not just on regulation.
- Use public procurement strategically to drop investment in what no longer works, and support change.
- Identify what evidence is needed for investment and policy decisions.
- Pay attention to supporting changes in attitudes and behaviours, as technology tools are designed to be used by people.
- Ensure a free flow of data for health within Europe, as this will drive change.
- Develop new business models to build successful partnerships between health and other sectors.

Public Health England Health Improvement Directorate
PHE has created a new Health Improvement directorate which will be led by John Newton. It will be made up of the following teams:
- Alcohol, Drugs and Tobacco
- Diet and Obesity
- Health Equity and Mental Health
- Healthy People
- Screening and Quality Assurance
- Knowledge and Intelligence
- National Disease Registration
- Research, Translation and Innovation

May 2017 (I)

Health Select Committee report on the effect of Brexit on health and social care

MPs on the Commons Health Select Committee have published a report on the effect of Brexit on the UK’s health and social care sector. In the report, MPs raise their concern over the impact of Brexit on the NHS and adult social care principally, the effect on the workforce of over sixty thousand people from EU countries and around ninety thousand in adult social care. The report calls for Government in its post-Brexit planning, to ensure that health and social care providers can retain and recruit the brightest and best staff worldwide including lower paid health and social care workers. Additionally, it recommends an audit to be undertaken to better understand the extent the NHS and adult social care depends on the EU and the wider international workforce. 

Brexit and European Medicines Agency

The Commission and the European Medicines Agency have alerted marketing authorisation holders of centrally authorised medicinal products for human and veterinary use that there will be legal repercussions on leaving the EU. A dedicated page of the Agency’s website already contains general information and will be updated with further practical information and relevant Q&As from May 2017, and will be subsequently expanded where necessary.

Projects on migrants' health launched
  • MyHealth aims to improve healthcare access for vulnerable migrants and refugees, in particular women and unaccompanied minors, who have recently arrived in Europe. The project partners, which include universities, research institutes and charities from seven EU countries, will develop and implement models to engage vulnerable migrants and refugees in their health through community empowerment and learning.
  • MigHealth brings together 14 partners from universities, national authorities and NGOs in 10 EU countries, to produce a roadmap for effective community-based care models to improve physical and mental health care services, support the inclusion and participation of migrants and refugees in European communities and reduce health inequalities. The project will include testing the feasibility of community-based care models in different settings and countries.
In addition the EU’s Health Programme is financing a number of other initiatives related to refugees' health in 2017 including the ORAMMA project which aims to improve access and delivery of maternal healthcare for refugee and migrant women, and a direct grant to the World Health Organisation project MIHKMA for the training of first-line health professionals working with migrants and refugees.
Link to Press Release.

SMEs shortlisted for 'Best eHealth solution in Europe' award
The 15 finalists of the eHealth Competition for SMEs 2017 have been announced, and two of them are the result of earlier projects funded by the EU. The Danish Monsenso created an mHealth solution for mental health and the Eodyne tool is the spin-off of the Rehabilitation Gaming System project which was financed by the Active and Assisted Living Programme. From the UK, OurPath is a finalist in the diabetes category, and offers a 6-week online nutritional programme.  The award will be announced at the opening ceremony of Health 2.0 in Barcelona, Spain (3rd-5th May 2017).

Voting for the eHealth Adoption Awards finalists
The eHealth Adoption Awards, supported by the European Commission, recognise the work of both adopters and their technological suppliers in implementing digital health innovation for the benefit of patients. The teams chosen for the final are:
  • MyDiabetesMyWay and NHS Scotland - MyDiabetesMyWay is a diabetes platform, integrating both patient home-recorded data and data from primary and secondary care and laboratories. This online portal supports people with diabetes in self-managing their disease. 
  • NephroFlow and AZ Sint-Lucas - An initiative at the AZ Sint-Lucas hospital in Ghent, Belgium, NephroFlow is the first dialysis information system that bridges treatment planning and monitoring processes with an intelligent mobile workflow in the dialysis room. 
  • Providing Individualised Services and Care for in Epilepsy (PISCES) - Ergo/National Public Health System Ireland - PISCES was created by clinicians involved in the care of epilepsy patients. It offers the ability to store and represent the full sequenced genome as well as the geneticist's opinion of the epilepsy and the neurological conditions leading to the type of epilepsy. 
There will be a pitching session on Thursday 11 May from 10:30am, and voting is possible via the eHealth Week mobile app.

Protecting our health infographic 
In commemoration of 25 years of European Health Policy, the European Commission has produced this infographic laying out the milestones and challenges of European-wide health policy. 
Full infographic can be found here.

April 2017 (II)

Leaked NHS document highlights potential shortage of 40,000 nurses
A leaked document from the Department of Health has revealed that the NHS could be hit by a shortage of more than 40,000 nurses by 2026 as a result of Brexit. The report showed that if nurses from EU and non-EU countries stop coming to the UK from 2019, within six years there would be a nursing staff shortage of between 26,000 and 42,000. More than 2,700 nurses left the NHS in 2016, according to freedom of information requests, an increase of 68% since 2014. There are already around 24,000 vacant nursing positions in the NHS, according to the Royal College of Nursing.

The path to Brexit – key decisions for the NHS
Highlighting workforce and recruitment, access, research, and law, the NHS Confederation has published an infographic of key concerns for the NHS. The prospects of negotiations following the triggering of Article 50 are discussed further in its podcast.

April 2017 (I)

European Parliament adopts new EU standards on medical products 

The European Parliament has adopted new rules on medical products, paving the way for tighter controls of the safety of products, such as breast implants, and the introduction of a passport for medical implants. Furthermore, mandatory counselling ahead of sensitive medical tests will be introduced. The rules will enter into force by mid-2020.

March 2017 (II)

Consultation on digital solutions for active and healthy ageing
The European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing recently launched a short online consultation for all organisations actively deploying and implementing “large-scale, sustainable, digitally-enabled innovative solutions” for Active and Healthy Ageing (AHA). 
The consultation was launched to identify plans for investment (both committed and potential) in the implementation of innovative solutions for Active and Healthy Ageing, between 2017 and 2020. The consultation will inform the creation of an Investment Map illustrating the EU investment potential in this area, contributing to the EIP on AHA Policy Dashboard. This is an opportunity for organisations (any organisation, public or private, partner of the EIP on AHA or not) to gain some visibility at a European level for their investment potential, to identify enablers or obstacles, as well as to contribute to the creation of an Investment Map for innovative digital-enabled AHA solutions. The deadline for response is 10 April 2017. The European Partnership would be grateful to be kept informed about any responses. 
More information and the questionnaire.  

Horizon 2020 – the next work programme
There are still a few open calls for proposals under the current Horizon 2016-17 Health work programme with a deadline of 11 April, however, the shape and scope of the next (and final) Horizon 2020 Work Programme is beginning to come into focus. 

The European Commission has published a series of thematic “Scoping Papers” covering all parts of Horizon 2020 (except the European Research Council), as well as a “Strategic Programme Overarching Scoping Paper” to prepare for the Work Programme 2018-2020. Find the scoping papers on Health and the other thematic areas via the European Commission webpage.

There are four main priorities envisaged for the Health 2018-2020 Work Programme:

  1. Better health and care, economic growth and sustainable health systems (including research areas: personalised medicine; innovative health and care industry; improving global health; sustainable and evidence-based health and care systems; innovative health and care delivery services - integration of care)
  2. Decoding the role of the overall environment for health and well-being (with two sub-sections: the human exposome; global changes in health)
  3. Digital transformation in health and care (including: eHealth and mHealth; ICT for active and healthy ageing)
  4. Trusted big data solutions and cybersecurity for health and care (including: trusted big data solutions for health and care; and cybersecurity for health and care)
The finalised work programme and first tranche of calls is expected in October 2017. 
Find out more about call topics under discussion on our calls for proposals page.

Health Programme funding 

East of England European Partnership has published an updated briefing on the EU’s Health Programme. Members can download it from our Additional Documents page.

Improving medicine package leaflets
The European Commission has published a report on how to improve the package leaflets included with medicines. It makes recommendations in terms of readability, design, user-testing, introducing key information section, and making information available in electronic form. Any accepted improvements will be put in place through regulatory guidelines rather than by changes to the current legislation. The Commission and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will work on this in collaboration with competent authorities in EU countries.

March 2017 (I)

Sharing Europe-wide expertise in rare conditions 
At the beginning of March, 24 thematic European Reference Networks became operational, gathering together over 900 highly specialised healthcare units from 26 countries to address rare and complex diseases together. The networks, ranging from childhood cancer to immunodeficiency, aim to help improve diagnosis, treatment, and cost-effective healthcare. With knowledge and resources on specific rare conditions scattered across countries, the EU-initiative hopes to connect the dots and share expertise.  
Link to Video

The EU’s Council of member states has adopted new rules on the safety of medical devices
Medical devices and in vitro diagnostic medical devices help diagnose, prevent and treat or alleviate diseases. In 2012, the Commission presented a package of measures intending to modernise the existing legislation to make sure that medical devices and in vitro diagnostic medical devices are safe, can be traded  across the EU, and that new innovative devices reach patients in a timely  manner.
The package covered a broad range of products: from plasters and pregnancy tests, to state-of-the-art pacemakers, X-ray machines and genetic tests. 
They aim to improve the traceability of medical devices throughout the supply chain to the end-user by using a unique identification number; and will set up a central database to provide patients, healthcare professionals and the public with information on products available in the EU. The extended scope of the revised rules covers certain products which do not have a specifically medical purpose, such as coloured contact lenses.

The Council has now adopted the new rules. 
The final stage will be through the European Parliament which is expected to adopt the two regulations in April, and the new rules will apply three years after publication for medical devices and five years after publication for in vitro diagnostic medical devices.

February 2017 (II)

The Together Project - promoting healthy diets to pregnant and breastfeeding women
The Together project promoted healthier diets and regular physical activity before, during and after pregnancy. It targeted mums and mums to be, especially from disadvantaged groups. Funded by the EU, the project took place in six countries, including the UK (Manchester). It has created a range of educational and promotional tools for use by organisations and professionals which are available for download. 

Swedish SME and Philips win Horizon prize
A fingerprick test that can show almost instantly whether an infection is bacterial or viral has won €1 million from the EU as part of the first-ever Horizon prize. The prize enables small firms and inventors to access research funding by offering solutions to a specific problem, in this case the better use of antibiotics. The prize will be used to get the test ready to be commercialised. The winning Minicare HNL test is a small handheld device that can check a drop of blood for the presence of human neutrophil lipocalin (HNL).

Health Award to NGO
The EU Health Award for NGOs fighting Antimicrobial Resistance  has been awarded. The prize rewards outstanding initiatives by NGOs which have worked to reduce the threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) to human health. The €20,000 first prize was awarded to BEUC, the European Consumer Organisation, for their campaign “From Farm to You”, which has raised awareness about the causes of AMR, such as overuse of antimicrobials in livestock and misuse and overuse of antibiotics in human medicine.

Cancer control
The EU-funded joint action on cancer control (CanCon) has published a new guide, drawing on a  three-year effort by experts in 25 countries and 126 partner organisations. Effective cancer control saves lives, money and time. The Guide is meant for decision-makers and cancer care professionals in Europe.

Consultation on the need for non-human primates in biomedical research, production and testing of products and devices
Interested parties are invited to submit comments about relevant scientific evidence online before 26 March 2017.

February 2017 (I)

2017 Work Programme of EU’s Health Programme published
The Work Programme includes information on the activities planned for funding under the Health Programme this year. Details can be found on Commission website and more information will follow as calls and actions are launched on the Chafea website. A new East of England European Partnership briefing on the 2017 work programme can be downloaded from our members’ website.

New Joint Action on healthy ageing and frailty
The ADVANTAGE Joint Action on the Prevention of Frailty is co-funded by the Third European Health Programme with a budget of €3.5 million. It will run for 3 years from January 2017. The JA involves 22 Member States and over 40 organisations. 

Public Consultation on possible activities under a Commission Communication on a One Health Action Plan to support Member States in the fight against Antimicrobial Resistance 
By mid-2017 the European Commission will launch a communication on a “One Health action plan to support Member States in the fight against antimicrobial resistance (AMR)”. The objective of the consultation is to collect views to inform the Communication. The deadline for response is 28 April 2017.

January 2017

Expressions of interest – health technology assessment
The European Commission is launching a call for expressions of interest to select stakeholder organisations as members of the Health Technology Assessment Network Stakeholder Pool. Eligible organisations are: organisations representing interests of patients/consumers' organisations, healthcare providers, payers, and industry. 
Health Technology Assessment looks at the ways science and technology are used in healthcare and disease prevention. It covers medical, social, economic, and ethical issues and provides policy-makers with objective information.  To help cooperation between countries, the EU has a permanent, voluntary HTA network. The Stakeholder Pool aims to ensure that the views of different stakeholders are reflected in the policy development in a balanced way and representatives will attend the HTA Network as observers.

Together project promoting healthy diets to pregnant and breastfeeding women
This European Parliament funded pilot project promoted healthier diets and regular physical activity before, during and after pregnancy. It targeted mums and mums to be, especially from disadvantaged groups who worked with doctors, experts and NGOs to design and test the best communication and educational approaches for different settings. Project partners included he University of Manchester and Central Manchester Foundation Trust. 

Find out more at the project website.

Mental Health Europe  
Mental Health Europe, a European non-governmental network (UK members include MIND), has published its activity report for 2016. It includes the launch of the awareness campaign “Each of Us”. 

Transplantation of organs
The Commission has published a report on how countries have implemented the 2010 EU  Directive on standards of quality and safety of human organs intended for transplantation.

Occupational health and safety of workers
The Commission is launching an initiative on the protection of workers against work-related cancer. It also aims to help businesses, in particular SMEs and micro-enterprises, in complying with the existing legislative framework. Guide for employers.

Science|Business event on health outcomes
Europe must find a way to get more out of its substantial investment in health, said the discussion at this event which looked at how the answer lies in measuring and assessing patient outcomes to understand what works rather than measuring processes and activities.

Following the closure of the European Partnership at the end of March 2019, this website is no longer active and will not be updated. However, it will be kept live for a period of time as an archive resource.