RCP attends 20th anniversary European Health Forum

The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) is pleased once again to support the annual European Health Forum (EHFG) that takes place in Gastein, Austria, this week and celebrates its 20th anniversary year.

The EHFG brings together some 700 delegates, including ministers, representatives of the European commission, European parliament, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and health NGOs and organisations active at European level such as the RCP.

Health in all politics

This year’s theme is ‘Health in all politics – a better future for Europe’ which will consider the policy challenges of implementing the ‘health in all policies’ (HiAP) approach across a range of areas spanning health systems, public health and access to care. Keynote speakers include Professor Sir Michael Marmot FRCP (UCL Institute of Health Equity) and Professor Martin Mckee FRCP (London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine).

RCP and homeless health

The conference features a special session on improving access to healthcare for marginalised groups such as the homeless. It provides an opportunity to highlight RCP work on ‘Inclusion Health’: designing healthcare to prevent and redress health and social inequities among the most vulnerable and marginalised people in the community. This includes people who are homeless, Gypsies and travellers, sex workers and vulnerable migrants. In addition, RCP is seeking to improve the experiences of homeless patients in hospitals and in accident and emergency care in particular.

RCP participation at the EHFG

The RCP has traditionally had a strong presence at the EHFG, with the RCP Health Informatics Unit presenting in the European commission session on mobile health in 2015 and RCP representatives including the current registrar, Bod Goddard, among other speakers in recent years. Last year, RCP published a special conference edition of the Commentary article ‘Brexit: where do we go from here?’.

This year, RCP principal European adviser Paul Belcher, a member of the EHFG Advisory Committee of Experts, is invited to take part in a ‘high-level policy makers dialogue’, chaired by the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, with senior officials from national ministries, WHO-Europe OECD and the European commission. The session will identify the political challenges and advocacy tools required to implement HiAP at national and European levels.

Among other conference delegates attending this year are honorary RCP fellows John Bowis MBE (Former MEP and health minister) and Robert Madelin (Former health director general, European commission).

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