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Hospital Healthcare Europe

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Representing public and private hospitals

Pascal Garel
13 May, 2015  

HOPE is actively involved in projects to exchange good practices and share information, as well as contributing to the work of the European Union

Pascal Garel

Chief Executive,

HOPE, the European Hospital and

Healthcare Federation

If growth is back in healthcare service it is only on average as the situation is far from being the same in all European countries. Indeed health spending per person has stopped falling in the past few years.

All countries are under different degrees of financial pressure with some still at crisis level. Several have already experienced financial cutbacks but all face increasing demand. This reinforces more than ever the role of the European Hospital and Healthcare Federation (HOPE), an international non-profit organisation created in 1966 to foster efficiency, effectiveness and humanity in hospitals and healthcare.

HOPE now comprises of 35 national organisations from 30 different states, of which 28 belong to the European Union. The majority of HOPE members are national hospital federations. Where there is no national hospital federation, members are national federations of local and regional authorities, as owners of hospitals or representatives of national health systems. HOPE covers around 80% of the healthcare sector in Europe. Further information can be found at www.hope.be

Membership and structure

HOPE is organised around a Board of Governors (see box), a President’s Committee, Liaison Officers, a network of National Coordinators for the exchange programme and a Central office. The Board of Governors (BoG) consists of the President and of Governors, one from each Member State and is the forum for all major policy decisions. Georg Baum (Germany) was President until the end of May 2014 when Sara Pupato Ferrari (Spain) succeeded him. The new Vice President since that time is Eva Weinreich-Jensen, the Danish Governor. The President’s Committee (PsC) consists of the President, the Vice President and three Governors:  from Estonia, Finland and Denmark. The Governor from Poland remained in his position of co-opted member. The PsC oversees the implementation and the execution of the Board of Governors’ decisions, coordinates the work, acts for HOPE and authorises legal representation. The work of HOPE is organised around a network of Liaison Officers, one for each member organisation. The Liaison Officers meet three times a year. The network of National Coordinators of the HOPE Exchange Programme meets twice a year to prepare the HOPE Exchange Programme under the authority of the Chief Executive. The Central Office is based in Brussels, Belgium. It is organised and directed by the Chief Executive, Pascal Garel, assisted by Colberte de Wulf, with EU Policy assistant Silvia Bottaro and Isabella Notarangelo, Health Economist. 

Representation and influence

In the broader context of increasing the influence of the European Union (EU) policies in hospitals and healthcare, HOPE handled several EU issues in 2014 and was asked to intervene in major European meetings, seminars and conferences of note. HOPE contributed to the design of several conferences and seminars of the EU presidencies and continued its work with the High Level Group on health services and medical care. This group, created in 2004, brings together experts from Member States and selected stakeholders. HOPE participates to the successors of the High Level Group working groups on Patient Safety and Quality and on European health workforce. 

HOPE is working principally with Directorate General (DG) Health (SANTE) whose remit enlarged in 2010 to include pharmaceuticals and medical devices, although the latest is going back to DG Enterprise in the new Commission. The official entry point with DG SANTE is the EU Health Policy Forum. In parallel, HOPE started its participation in the new process initiated by Directorate General Enterprise on some aspects of the pharmaceutical policy. With Directorate General Communications Networks, Content & Technology, the activities of HOPE in the field of eHealth were further developed. HOPE participated actively in the meetings of the eHealth Stakeholders’ User Group and represented the view of hospitals in several discussions devoted to eHealth. Directorate General Internal Market for public procurement and Directorate General Justice for data protection were among the other directorates with which HOPE had an active relationship.

Contacts with Members of the European Parliament were intense in in the first trimester of 2014 before the election and started again with the new Parliament. HOPE presented its activities, shared its positions and answered requests. 

HOPE has been working on many diverse issues in 2014. Some of them were rather political, some more technical. The main one was of course the debate around the transposition of the directive on cross-border healthcare. But four other significant initiatives of the Commission were on the agenda: the implementation of the recommendation on patient safety; the regulation on medical devices and in vitro diagnostics, counterfeit medicine and the regulation on data protection.

Exchange of good practices

HOPE is fostering the exchange of good practices with different channels. The major on-going project is the Joint Action on Patient Safety and Quality of care (JA PaSQ) that followed the EUNetPaS project. Its main goal was to establish an umbrella network to improve cooperation among Member States in the field of Patient Safety. HOPE is well involved in other joint actions: cancer, organ donation, workforce planning, eHealth and health technology assessment. HOPE also worked on projects related to cardiovascular disease (EUROTRACS), child abuse (IPPOCA) and communication skills in crisis (Health C).

Knowledge on hospitals is sparse and spread across different sources. HOPE transferred and updated its work “Hospitals in the EU 27” on its website, giving comparable information for each of the EU Member States. Finally, in 2014 HOPE organised for the 33rd time its Exchange Programme with a central topic on quality. The HOPE Exchange Programme was concluded with the HOPE Agora conference in Amsterdam on 27 and 28 May 2014. The next Agora conference will take place in Warsaw on 1 and 2 June 2015.