RCP joins delegates at European Health Forum Gastein

The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) is pleased once again to support the annual European Health Forum Gastein (EHFG), which takes place in Austria from 28 September 2016.

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 organisations that are active at European level, such as the RCP.

Demography and diversity

This year’s theme is ‘Demography & diversity: New opportunities for Europe’ which will consider a range of demographic challenges facing European health policy makers, including:

  • ageing populations
  • the rise of multi-morbidity
  • increased societal diversity
  • migration issues.

A particular challenge that will be considered this year is the potential impact of Brexit on both health and healthcare. 

RCP participation at the EHFG

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 registrar, being previous guest speakers.

This year, RCP principal European adviser Paul Belcher and RCP fellow Professor Martin McKee (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine), both members of the EHFG expert advisory committee, are among those invited to take part in a ‘High level policy makers dialogue’, chaired by the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, together with senior officials from WHO-Europe and the European Commission. The session will discuss how the conference's core themes can be addressed in policy terms, both at national and European levels.

Brexit – RCP membership magazine special feature

Other sessions with RCP participation include a special workshop, ‘Beyond Brexit’. Conference delegates attending this session will receive a specially commissioned paper from the latest edition of Commentary, the RCP's membership magazine. In ‘Brexit: where do we go from here?’, seven expert authors write about four of the most important health-related areas that could be impacted by Britain’s decision to leave the EU:

  • Medical workforce: RCP registrar Andrew Goddard and Kate Ling, senior policy manager at the NHS Confederation European Office.
  • Public health: Paul Belcher, principal European adviser to the RCP and European Public Health Alliance, and Bernard Merkel, former head of the Health Strategy and Health Systems Unit, European Commission.
  • NHS funding: Anita Charlesworth, director of research and economics at the Health Foundation.
  • Medical research: Stuart Pritchard, EU affairs manager at the Wellcome Trust.

The recent RCP report ‘Underfunded, underdoctored, overstretched: The NHS in 2016’ also highlights how vulnerable the NHS is to the potential impact of the Brexit vote and possible changes to immigration rules.