Tracing donated tissue and cells

The EU has recently launched a Coding Platform to support healthcare professionals and national authorities in tracing donated tissues and cells from donor to recipient in the entire EU. The EU Directive on standards for quality and safety of human tissues and cells sets standards for tissues and cells such as bone marrow, reproductive cells, corneas, skin, etc., that are used within the EU and which will be identified by a Single European Code (SEC).

This SEC is an important tool for better patient safety as it enables the tracing of tissues and cells along the supply chain – from the donor to the patient receiving it. In case of a quality or safety issue, it allows appropriate action, including – where necessary, withdrawing or recalling all tissues and cells from the same donor, to be taken quickly. The EU Coding Platform contains information on all 2800 tissue establishments authorised in the EU as well as categories of tissue and cell product codes. It provides users with a free, simple and efficient tool, to build their SEC for a tissues and cells product, and takes into account the needs of small-sized and not-for-profit tissue establishments.

For more information about the Single European Code on the website

Brexit and the social care workforce

Over the past decade, there has been a significant increase in the proportion of European migrants in the social care workforce. In the first part of 2016 alone, over 80% of all migrant care workers who moved to England to take on a social care role were from Europe. Any restrictions to the migration of European citizens would likely reduce the overall number of workers in the social care sector, making it even harder to recruit and retain the necessary numbers of staff.

The charity Independent Age has produced a report ‘Brexit and the future of migrants in the social care workforce’ that reviews future workforce shortages in adult social care in England taking into account the EU referendum result.

To download the report on Brexit and workforce shortages from the website.

Digitising European public services

Delivering on its Strategy to create a Digital Single Market, the European Commission has developed plans to help European industry, SMEs, researchers and public authorities make the most of new technologies.

It has created a set of measures to support and link up national initiatives for the digitisation of industry and related services across all sectors and to boost investment through strategic partnerships and networks. It also proposes concrete measures to speed up the development of common standards in priority areas, such as 5G communication networks or cybersecurity, and to modernise public services.

The Commission will also set up a European cloud that will give Europe’s 1.7 million researchers and 70 million science and technology professionals a virtual environment to store, manage, analyse and re-use a massive amount of research data.

People and businesses are still not reaping the full benefit from digital public services that should be available seamlessly across the EU. The Commission has developed an e-government action plan that will modernise digital public services and make the EU a better place to live, work and invest. It has suggested 20 measures to be launched by the end of 2017, including a digital single gateway to help users operate across borders and a cross border e-health service.

Find more information about the Digitising of European Industry on the website

Keeping Europe malaria-free

The European Region is the first in the world to have interrupted indigenous malaria transmission with the number of cases dropping from 90,712 in 1995 to zero in 2015.

Countries in the WHO European Region at risk of malaria reintroduction (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan) have reaffirmed their commitment to keep the Region malaria-free.

For more information about keeping Europe malaria-free on the website

Securing health in Europe

The final Conference Report from the 18th European Health Forum Gastein “Securing health in Europe: balancing priorities, sharing responsibilities” has been published.

The yearly event hosted more than 500 health professionals over three days and focused on access to high-quality healthcare and innovative treatment in Europe.

To read the Conference Report on the website

Anti-microbial stewardship

About one third of hospital patients are prescribed antibiotics and up to 50% of their use is unnecessary or inappropriate.  Whilst some EU countries have made significant strides in the control of drug-resistant infections, overuse and the spread of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) urgently need to be addressed in others. As drug-resistant infections are not contained by national borders, the approach must be strict, consistent and coordinated at European and international level.

Antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) was a topic at the 21st Congress of the European Association of Hospital Pharmacists in Vienna where great emphasis was placed on the importance of establishing well-trained, multidisciplinary teams supported by committed leadership. As medicines experts with knowledge of infection control, hospital pharmacists play an important role as educators of other healthcare workers and patients.

AMS can be described as a series of multi-professional interventions across all care settings. Alongside infection control and decontamination action it has become an essential strategy deployed in hospitals across Europe to fight multi-drug resistant ‘superbugs’.

Efficient AMS programmes hinge on first-rate management skills across hospital and community settings, and the availability of local guidance. This must go hand in hand with surveillance data on antibiotics use and occurrence of resistance so that compliance with guidance can be measured, and its impact evaluated.

To read more about Antimicrobial Stewardship on the website

European eHealth Network

The Joint Action to support the eHealth Network (JAseHN) was launched in 2015 and is now in the process of setting up a cross-border network to exchange Patient Summaries and ePrescriptions, by focusing on the following objectives:

  • enable seamless cross-border care and secure access to patient health information between European healthcare systems, particularly with respect to the exchange of Patient Summary and ePrescription.
  • contribute to patient safety by reducing the frequency of medical errors and by providing quick access to patient health information, as well as by increasing the accessibility of a patient’s own prescriptions, also when abroad.
  • provide medical personnel with life-saving information in emergency situations and reduce the repetition of diagnostic procedures.

To read more about JAseHN and download their leaflet from the website

Public Health threats to air safety

The AIRSAN Project looked at coordinated action in the aviation sector to control public health threats and has developed a range of tools to ensure a well- organised and coherent response. The Project targeted public health and civil aviation authorities, local public health authorities at airports, airport and airline management and medical services across EU member states.

AIRSAN Partners have developed:

  • an AIRSAN Network,
  • AIRSAN Communication Platform,
  • an AIRSAN Bibliography,
  • AIRSAN Guidance Documents, and
  • an AIRSAN Training Tool.

To access these and find out more about the AIRSAN project on the website

Innovation partnership on active and healthy ageing

A new portal has been launched for the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing (EIP on AHA).

The partnership is active in the context of the EU Innovation Union to gather key stakeholders from the public and private sectors including end users, public authorities, industry, and researchers to work together towards innovative solutions that meet the needs of ageing population. In this sense, the portal aims to act as a communication and information hub to meet and exchange ideas with peers, to get information about funding opportunities or EIP on AHA Action Groups, and to look for potential partners on innovative AHA projects.

Various tools have been (and will be) developed to enhance the current planning processes.

To find out more about EIP on AHA, on the website

European Reference Networks

Imagine if the best specialists from across Europe could join their efforts to tackle complex or rare medical conditions that require highly specialised healthcare
and a concentration of knowledge and resources. That’s the purpose of the European Reference Networks.
Interest in becoming part of a Network can be registered from the 16 March 2016 and an “info day” regarding this call will be organised on 7 April 2016.
The call for ERNs will be in two waves:
1. ERN applicants wishing both to apply to become an ERN, and to apply for funding, should submit their application during the first period of the call (from 16 March 2016);
2. ERN applicants wishing to apply only to become an ERN, but not for funding, should submit their application during the second period of the call (opening in June 2016).
For more information about European Reference Networks, on the website
To read the Assessment Manual and Technical Toolbox for applicants to the Call, on the website