European Health Forum Gastein 2016


The 19th European Health Forum Gastein took place on 28-30 September under the title “Demographics & Diversity in Europe. New Solutions for Health”. EPF represented the patient’s perspective in several sessions.

On the first day of the conference, our Secretary General Nicola Bedlington participated in the workshop “New frontiers in Health Technology Assessment”, organised by European Commission DG Research. Nicola presented the patient perspective on HTA particularly with regards to the challenge of personalised medicines.

Kaisa Immonen, EPF Director of Policy took part in a workshop organised by the Austrian Ministry of Health, entitled “Guiding patients to the Best Point of Service”. Patients often face a number of obstacles when navigating the health system in search of appropriate providers and services. Sometimes patients are accused of using services “inappropriately” – a claim that Kaisa challenged strongly. There was an interesting discussion on the potential of guidance systems to support patients; such systems have been set up for example in the Netherlands and the UK, and there is interest from other countries.

Member organisations were also very active at this 2016 Gastein forum. The European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients’ Associations (EFA) presented a survey among young people with chronic diseases (in particular asthma) in four European countries to identify the underlying causes for non-adherence to treatment. The goal was to gain consensus on recommendations and identify next steps towards the implementation of an educational plan and actions at the national level in Europe.

Also present, Alzheimer Europe co-organised a workshop on the challenges of Alzheimer’s and other dementias on the last day of the conference, with highly engaging discussions involving several patient representatives.

Elsewhere during the conference, lively discussions took place around pharmaceutical innovation in the sessions titled “Healthy innovation: putting patients before profits”; and “Innovative medicines. The increasing tension between value, profit and Accessibility”. Another interesting workshop explored the needs of patients with multiple chronic conditions via interactive group work (“ICP 4 co-morbid patients”).

Details of the Forum, photos, as well as the report when available, can be found at the website    


Contact person:

Kaisa Immonen, Director of Policy