Health Interest Groups in the new European Parliament

A number of health specific and disease specific interest groups of particular interest to patients, are being currently being established, or re-established in the European Parliament. On the menu this month: access to healthcare, mental health and innovation in health and social care.

We are supporting the launch of the Interest Group on Access to healthcare in the European Parliament on 27 January 2015. This is in line with our strategic goal and with the implementation of the Patient Access Partnership that we are setting up with our Bulgarian member, the National Patient organisation. More on this will be shared in the next issue of our Newsletter.

Relaunch of the Interest Group on Mental Health

Our member, the Global alliance of mental illness advocacy networks-Europe (GAMIAN Europe) relaunched the interest group on mental health, wellbeing and brain disorders on 19 November 2014 at the European Parliament. Launched five years ago, this group composed of Members of the European Parliament and civil society’s representatives was among the most active in the previous parliament.

Mental health problems remain highly prevalent in Europe and constitute a major burden for our economies and societies as a whole. Two recent studies (a patient survey carried out by GAMIAN Europe on mental health and employment and the mental health integration index) show examples of excellence in mental health care provision as well as areas of deficiency which need to be addressed.

Ms Childers reminded that “there is no health without mental health. This is the reason why we need policies that strengthen the links between mental health, public health and other policy areas. Our interest group provides the right platform to exchange views and initiate policy action in this regard.

Launch of an Interest Group on Access to Innovation in healthcare

On 12 November, Health First Europe (HFE) celebrated its 10 year Anniversary by launching a new European Parliamentary Interest Group on Innovation in Health and Social Care. Co-Chair MEP Marian Harkin (ALDE, IE) hosted the reception that celebrated the achievements of the Alliance and outlined the priorities for the Group. The primary aim of the Interest Group on Innovation in Health and Social Care is to improve patient access to innovation in health and social care by influencing EU policy.

Health First Europe’s President John Bowis further insisted on the importance of working in partnership to bring forward policy solutions to issues of organisation of care, access to health and social care, patient involvement and researching the value of innovation in health.  The organisation will use the new Interest Group as a vehicle to bring forward such solutions.

EPF will create a special section with the EPF website to keep track readers informed of these, and report on major developments in the newsletter.