Nicola Bedlington

Nicola Bedlington is EPF’s Secretary General since September 2014 and was previously the Executive Director since the setting up of the EPF Secretariat in June 2006.

She worked as an external expert for the European Commission on disability policy and NGO cooperation and was the first Director of the European Disability Forum during the 90s. More recently she led the ENSI Secretariat, an OECD initiated international governmental network on education and sustainable development.

As healthcare advocates, we know that dialogue between patients and the medical technology industry can deepen understanding between those who develop new healthcare solutions and those who use them. That is why our organisations, the European Patients’ Forum (EPF) and MedTech Europe, devised the Patient-Medtech Dialogue as a forum for regular interaction on topics of mutual interest in a transparent and open way. Our experience to date has been positive: The Patient-MedTech Dialogue is an initiative that began in 2011 with the aim of providing a platform for the exchange of perspectives between the patient and medtech communities. At our latest meetings, on 24 and 25 May, we co-hosted two half-day workshops, exploring two hot topics in healthcare: Health Technology Assessment (HTA) and community care in the context of improving access to medical technologies. We were delighted about the high interest and engagement of the patient organisations and MedTech companies that joined. In addition to the exchange between patients and industry representatives, the dialogue also engages with experts and other stakeholders. For example, these recent sessions benefited from the contributions of a European Commission official and senior representatives of HTAi, and Health First Europe. Health Technology Assessment The first workshop on HTA provided us with an opportunity to exchange perspectives on the European Commission’s legislative proposal on health technology assessment and on common rules for clinical assessment of health technologies undergoing HTA. There were also calls from various participants for greater transparency about how patient involvement in HTA processes translates into decision-making, and detailed discussion of the need for funding and training to ensure effective patient input. Care in the community The second workshop focused on community care – healthcare provided outside the hospital setting. We see technology helping to empower patients to manage their conditions and connect with specialists,...