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EPF’s plans for the European Health Policy Forum Gastein

The 15Th European Health Policy Forum Gastein, 3-6 October 2012, will focus on “Crisis and Opportunity – Health in a time of Austerity”. In these times of austerity, healthcare faces an increasing demand due to demographic change, innovation and steadily improved technology. Gastein 2012 will address the core question of how health policy and healthcare systems are going to be shaped in the upcoming decades. EPF will be represented in Gastein by EPF President Anders Olauson, EPF Board member Robert Johnstone, and Nicola Bedlington, EPF Director. Anders will participate in a plenary session entitled “What will European society look like in 2050”. Robert will speak at a plenary session on “the path to sustainable health systems: supporting patients with multiple, chronic morbidities”.

Nicola is on the European Health Award Jury that is presented in Gastein. The purpose of the European Health Award is to highlight and reward an initiative in more than one European country that contributes in a clear and significant way to meet some of the European health challenges and to ameliorating disparities in health services provision within Europe.

EPF, in cooperation with Sanofi is also organising a specific workshop on Friday 5 October from 16.00h – 19.00h on “Investment in health, increasing equity and wealth”. Renowned organisations, such as the United Nations and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), reiterate that “investment is required to improve population health and quality of life”. However, the current global financial, economic and social crises have resulted in substantial cuts in healthcare budgets. This short-term vision requires urgent attention as these cut-back strategies and measures are highly likely to increase health inequalities and threaten well-being; patients’ and citizens’ rights may be at risk.

Mid- to long-term health policies and strategies that involve all stakeholders are required to ensure equity as well as a fair distribution of resources. Our event will bring together high level speakers to reflect with the audience how to move forward on these critical issues.

EPF will also be partnering with the University of Maastricht in a breakfast session focussing on Health Literacy and the way forward at EU level.