John Bowis

John Bowis

John Bowis who was a Member of European Parliament from 1999 to 2009 is now the Honorary President of Health First Europe. John became HFE's Honorary President in 2009 and re-elected for a second term in 2011.

HTA collaboration
Being a patient myself, I am keenly aware of the importance of having access to innovative technologies to support my lifestyle and foster improved health and well-being. And, as a former policymaker in both the UK and the EU, I also understand the enormous responsibility of the healthcare system in determining which of the newest medical technologies are the safest and most effective for patients in each health constituency. It is difficult to remedy these demands – those of patients, health systems and policymakers.
Improving lives
Health First Europe has always believed that by bringing together all health stakeholders, solutions for challenges in healthcare can be found that benefit all patients. In 2012, we continued in our conviction that together we could better protect patients and improve access to treatment by working with the EU institutions and other EU health stakeholders. This past year, our work on patient safety and health technology assessment (HTA) produced concrete recommendations for policymakers on how the EU can support the improvement and delivery of care for patients. In 2013, we will not only further our work on patient safety and quality of care, but also expand our issue engagement to look beyond safety and access, to patient empowerment, health literacy and community care. Encouraging patients to be informed about their care is of great importance as health systems adapt and change to the meet the needs of an ageing population as well as shortages of healthcare professionals and tighter budgets for delivering care.
Patient safety
Too often we, as stakeholders in health, forget about whom we are talking when we say “patients.” We talk as if the patient is somewhere far away from our discussions rather than the person with whom, about whom and for whom we are having those discussions. In reality, we are all patients – for some it’s just once a year and for others it’s every day of the year. But it’s important to remember that health policy should, theoretically, benefit all of us when it is our turn to receive healthcare - no matter what that care is.
Though we live in countries with well-funded and advanced healthcare settings, we all know that receiving medical treatment inevitably carries risk with it. However, less is known about the procedures in place to minimise the risk of adverse events. Should I be scared to enter a healthcare setting? How do I know if the hospital where I am treated has a procedure in place to minimise risk so that it is not complicated by an infection?