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Representing public and private hospitals

Pascal Garel
Chief Executive,
HOPE, the European Hospital and
Healthcare Federation
Europe at a crossroad? Europe is always at a crossroad. This time the economic turmoil is adding to the already complex puzzle. 
It has been another challenging year for the health services in Europe. All are under different degrees of financial pressure, with some at crisis level. Several have already experienced financial cutbacks but all face increasing demands. This reinforces more than ever the role of HOPE, the European Hospital and Healthcare Federation, an international non-profit organisation created in 1966 to foster efficiency, effectiveness and humanity in hospitals and healthcare.
HOPE is now gathering 36 national organisations from 29 different states; 27 of them 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 hospital sector in Europe.
Further information can be found at
Membership and structure
HOPE is organised around The Board of Governors (see box overleaf), the President’s Committee, liaison officers, a network of national coordinators for the exchange programme and the Central Office. The Board of Governors consists of a president and the governors, one from each Member State, and is the forum for all major policy decisions. Georg Baum (Germany) is the President and Sara Pupato (Spain) is the Vice President.
The President’s Committee consists of the president, the vice president and three governors (from Estonia, Hungary and Denmark). The President’s Committee 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 for 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 Chief Executive, Pascal Garel, who is assisted by Colberte de Wulf, with EU Policy Advisor, Emilie Vergauwe and Gloria Lombardi, Health Economist.
Representation and influence
In the broader context of increasing influence of EU policies on hospitals and healthcare, in 2011 HOPE handled several EU issues and was asked to intervene in major European meetings, seminars and conferences. HOPE contributed to the design of several conference and seminars of the Spanish and the Belgian presidencies and continued its work with the High Level Group on health services and medical care. This group, which was created in 2004, brings together experts from Member States and selected stakeholders. HOPE participates in High Level Group working groups on Patient Safety and Quality, and on European health workforce.
HOPE is working principally with the Directorate General Health and Consumer (DG SANCO) – the remits of which expanded in 2010 to pharmaceuticals and medical devices. The official entry point with DG SANCO is the EU Health Policy Forum (EUHPF). In parallel, HOPE started its participation in the new process initiated by Directorate General Enterprise (DG ENTR) on some aspects of pharmaceutical policy. With the Directorate General Information Society (DG INFSO), 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.
Contact with members of the European Parliament has been more systematic in 2011. HOPE presented its activities, shared its positions and answered questions. HOPE particularly focused its attention on the proposals for directives.
In 2011, HOPE has worked on a variety of diverse issues. Some of them were rather political, some more technical. The main one was, of course, the debate around the proposed directive on cross-border healthcare. But six other significant initiatives of the commission were on the agenda: the implementation of the recommendation on patient safety; the directive on information to patients; the directive on organ donation and transplantation; a green paper consultation on the European Workforce for Health; the directive on late payments; and the consultation on clinical trials.
Exchange of good practice
HOPE is fostering the exchange of good practice with different channels. The major ongoing project was EUNetPaS. Its main goal was to establish an umbrella network to improve cooperation among Member States in the field of patient safety. It started in 2008 and was completed in 2010 by the implementation of good practice in the field of medication safety. Following the involvement of HOPE in the MARQuiS project that ended in 2007, HOPE decided to join a consortium on a new project proposal DUQuE – Deepening our understanding of quality improvement in Europe – that was accepted for funding in 2009.HOPE is also working in MANAGED OUTCOME. They both are financed by the 7th Research Framework Programme. EURHOBOP is also a new project in which HOPE is a partner, financed by the public health programme.
Knowledge about hospitals is sparse and spread across various 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 2011, HOPE organised for the 31st time its Exchange Programme with a central topic on the coordination between hospital and primary care. The event was co-organised by the Finnish municipalities. The 2012 HOPE exchange programme will cover Ageing workforce, ageing patients: multiple challenges, with a final event HOSPAGE to take place in Berlin on 11–13 June 2012.