RCP praises OECD's willingness to work with stakeholders on 'wide-ranging' health initiatives

Representatives of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) who recently visited the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have praised the Paris-based organisation's 'desire to work with expert stakeholders such as the RCP' on its wide-ranging programme of health work.  

Following the meeting last week, in which the OECD outlined its plans to expand and transform the global health and social workforce, discussed progress on the PaRIS initiative, and highlighted its work to tackle harmful alcohol consumption, the representatives said they had held 'very informative and useful discussions'.

They added that the talks – which centred on key links between the high-quality data and reports they produce, and how the implementation [of this output] might be strengthened – had allowed them to highlight how they can connect the wealth of RCP expertise and knowledge with EU and wider European policymaking.

Discussing the visit, Paul Belcher, RCP principal European adviser and representative to the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA), said: 

OECD is now firmly on the European health policy map and this visit to Paris emphasised their desire to work with expert stakeholders such as the RCP – this is welcome. Indeed, the 5-yearly OECD Health Forum held in January 2017 that we attended brought together a huge and impressive range of clinical, public health, civil society and patient groups.

I look forward to OECD harnessing this expertise in future to further enhance its impressive reports and studies, as well as maximising their impact and policy implementation, as its wide-ranging programme of health work unfolds.

OECD is now firmly on the European health policy map and this visit to Paris emphasised their desire to work with expert stakeholders such as the RCP

Paul Belcher, RCP principal European adviser and representative to the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA)

Professor David Oliver, RCP clinical vice president added:

I gained a better understanding of how they prioritise and carry out their work on health, healthcare, social care, public health. There are real areas of common interest and synergy about workforce, workforce planning, workforce roles, competencies, capability, futurology (eg how it might be affected by tech developments), teams and roles within them where RCP has considerable expertise and data and ability to add value to OECD work.

With work on value, variation, population health, population medicine, our expertise with big national clinical audits and our collaboration with the GIRFT programme (and other initiatives like 'choosing wisely') mean we could do some collaborative work or at least data-sharing with OECD. 

RCP representative on EU alcohol policies and scientific advisor on alcohol at the European Public Health Alliance, Professor Nick Sheron, said: 

I welcome the valuable work OECD is conducting to identify the most effective policies to combat chronic diseases and particularly to reduce alcohol harm. Their 2015 report was an impressive start, which the RCP rightly welcomed, but we still have many challenges ahead.

In terms of trends in liver mortality, the UK is in the same group as Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria with very high or increasing liver deaths as a result of alcohol, and liver disease is likely to eclipse ischaemic heart disease as the leading cause of years or working life lost as a result of further increases since the repeal of the UK duty escalator in 2013. The RCP and myself stand ready to assist OECD in developing effective strategies to combat the range of chronic diseases caused particularly by alcohol, obesity and tobacco.