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Appeal to the European Commission


12 Feb 2010


Health & Consumers

on the occasion of the incoming European Commission, February 2010

The Standing Committee of European Doctors (CPME) is looking forward to working together with
the new European Commission and especially with the Commissioner for Health, John Dallí, towards
a healthier Europe. CPME will be glad to contribute to the process and to be involved in projects and
work to be done.

Health Inequalities: Health inequalities occur both between and within EU Member States as
well as between and within occupational and social groups. As doctors are aware of the strong
influence of social factors on patients’ illnesses and on the outcome of their treatment, CPME
strongly supports the work on social determinants of health. CPME is convinced that a wide focus is
needed in order to efficiently reduce health inequalities, including fiscal and economic policies,
improvements in infrastructure and education as well as reductions in gender inequalities. Progress
on other health policy issues will play a crucial role in this process, as for example prevention and
relevant information to patients, sufficient and well-trained workforce in all EU countries and a
Directive on patients’ rights in cross-border healthcare.
CPME therefore very much welcomes the ambitious task that the Commission has undertaken and
calls on the Commission and all stakeholders to keep this important challenge on the top of their

Pharmaceutical Package: It is of utmost importance to ensure that the information to patients on
medicines is objective, knowledge-based, transparent and non-promotional. CPME therefore
welcomes the announcement of Commissioner Dallí to reassess the Pharmaceutical Package. The
involvement of doctors and (supra) national bodies of the medical profession in ensuring the
sustainable safety and quality of medicines should be guaranteed.
Quick progress in terms of legislation on counterfeit medicines is crucial, as counterfeiting is a threat
to the safety and health of patients. CPME calls on the Commission to lead the way in order to ensure
an unbroken control system.

Cross-Border Healthcare: The European Court of Justice has recognized that patients have the
right to receive healthcare in another Member State and be reimbursed for that healthcare for up to
the amount they would have received in their own country. The Commission has proposed the
Directive on the application of patients' rights in cross-border healthcare (2008/0142) that has been
adopted by the European Parliament in first reading. However, despite intense debates, unfortunately
no agreement could be reached in the Council so far.
CPME calls on the European Parliament, the Commission and on the Spanish Presidency to take on
the challenge and to continue the process of finalizing the proposal in order to guarantee patients’
rights in this context.

Medical Workforce: In order to prepare for the health and social care challenges of the future and
to safeguard the safety of patients in all European countries, it is essential to ensure the provision of a
sufficient, well-educated, motivated and supported medical workforce. Therefore, the medical
workforce should be trained to common standards of the highest quality, and working conditions in
which both mobility and family life can be accommodated need to be promoted. In order to respect
the dignity of working practitioners and also to keep attractivity of the medical profession for future
what is necessary to safeguard the safety of the European citizens In order to maintain a stable and
committed healthcare workforce, an adequate remuneration system is essential.
CPME appreciates the opportunity to collaborate on this issue as the involvement of doctors and
(supra) national bodies of the medical profession is essential in this field.

Prevention: Prevention plays a crucial role in reducing the burden of disease. However, 97% of
health expenses in Europe are spent on treatment and only 3% on prevention.
CPME strongly believes that investment in promotion of healthy lifestyles and disease prevention is
the only possible and sustainable way forward. CPME is fully supportive of the Commission’s efforts
in tackling the major health determinants and is committed to support its actions in the fields of
cancer, heart diseases, mental health, nutrition, tobacco, alcohol and environmental health.
CPME appreciates Commissioner Dallí’s emphasis on information as a powerful tool in reducing
lifestyle-associated diseases, but will also continue to stress the need for binding regulation in fields
such as tobacco, alcohol and food labeling.

E-Health: CPME has advocated for many years that e-Health could help address the major
challenges that the EU’s healthcare system is faced with, such as supporting patient mobility, long-
term chronic care, Telemedicine and safer prescriptions. On the other hand many questions remain
open and lead to controversy among which patients’ data confidentiality is one of the most important.
CPME calls on the new European Commission to continue to give the medical profession more
involvement in strategy.

Patient Safety: It is well known that patients can suffer from adverse events whilst receiving
treatment. Frequently occurring adverse events include healthcare-associated infections, medication-
related errors, surgical errors, medical device failures and errors in diagnosis as well as errors in the
organizational system. The European Commission has successfully raised awareness on the necessity
to create a culture of Patient Safety in Europe. Following the Luxembourg Presidency conference on
Patient Safety in 2005 the issue has been taken up in fruitful initiatives such as the SIMPatIE project
and most recently in the EUNetPaS project. With this last project being nearly completed and with
CPME having been proactively involved, CPME regards EUNetPaS a success which is worth
following up.
CPME therefore asks the Commission to ensure continuity in this important field.

For more information, please contact:
Lisette Tiddens-Engwirda, CPME Secretary General

Tel.: +32 2 732 72 02 - e-mail:


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