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On 12 November, HFE celebrated its 10 year Anniversary by launching a new European Parliamentary Interest Group on Innovation in Health and Social Care.  Hosted by Co-Chair of the Interest Group, Marian Harkin (ALDE, IE), the reception brought together a variety of EU officials and health stakeholders to discuss the achievements of Health First Europe, the future aims of the organisation, and the priorities for the Interest Group which will hold its first meeting in 2015.

Speaking about the origins of Health First Europe, Honorary John Bowis shared that “Health First Europe was originally formed around the issue of patient safety and needlestick injuries to healthcare professionals.”  He discussed how he first became involved with HFE as a Member of the European Parliament, as he was given a tour of a healthcare organisation in which he met with healthcare professionals impacted by preventable injuries.  Mr. Bowis emphasised how Health First Europe “comes to policymakers with solutions, not problems, which makes it unique in its work at European level.”

With regards to the future work of HFE, Mr. Bowis expressed that the organisation looks forward to working with EU stakeholders 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.  HFE will utilise the new Interest Group as a vehicle to bring forward such solutions.

MEP Harkin also shared with invited guests her successful experiences working with Interest Groups and the impact such groups can have on policies in the European Parliament.  She discussed her ambitions for the Interest Group in the next term including focusing on research, health promotion and public health, particularly around the role of carers and healthcare professionals across the health and safety spectrum given her work on the Employment and Social Affairs Committee.

The first meeting of the European Parliament Interest Group on Innovation and Health and Social Care will take place in 2015 and Health First Europe looks forward to working with our friends and colleagues across the EU to ensure public health is a key priority in the next term.