Our Engagement in Europe team review of 2017

Section: Engagement in EuropeType: News Item Date Published: 5th January 2018

Our European team review activities over 2017 for our annual report.

The ALLIANCE is represented on the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), the European Patients’ Academy (EUPATI) and the European Patients Forum (EPF). In a post Brexit environment, the ALLIANCE’s engagement work with these organisations is more important than ever and the ALLIANCE is working hard to maintain a Third Sector profile in Scotland and at Brussels.

Through its work at the EESC, the ALLIANCE is seeking to influence the policy agenda and ensure that people with long term conditions have a central role in a post-Brexit world. To facilitate this process ALLIANCE Director, Irene Oldfather, Scotland’s Third Sector Representative to the EESC, has spoken at Plenary Sessions of the EESC in Brussels on a variety of issues.  Irene emphasised the role that civil society plays in Europe, the importance of culture in driving social change and about how working across borders can improve the lives of people with dementia and their carers.

Irene engaged with the Young Professionals in Foreign Policy group to discuss the implications of the Brexit process with some of Europe’s Future Leaders. Feeding into the EESC’s Going Local Initiative which emphasises learning from local communities throughout member states, Irene Oldfather, spoke at an event organised by IPSE, to address The European Pillar of Social Rights. This engagement work helps to underscore the importance of solidarity-based approaches and working together across borders regardless of the outcome of the Brexit process.

ALLIANCE Director, Irene Oldfather, chairs EUPATI UK, which works to generate a dialogue around future patient involvement in the medicines research and development process in the UK. In conjunction EUPATI UK the ALLIANCE is holding a series of Training Events demonstrating the EUPATI Toolbox which is intended to make people familiar with the range of high quality information available and how they can access valuable resources readily and with confidence. EUPATI UK intends that the Training Events are aimed at patients and patient organisations and will help support an increase in the capacity of members of the public, patients and patient advocates to take an active role in accessing care and receiving treatment. The ALLIANCE organises webinars to discuss the progress of the project and how to strengthen engagement.

The ALLIANCE is a member of the European Patient’s Forum (EPF), which is an organisation that works with patients’ groups in public health and health advocacy across Europe.  ALLIANCE Director Irene Oldfather is an Executive of the Patient Empowerment sub group within the EPF. This sub-group meets regularly to shape the EPF’s approach to supporting patients across Europe to enact their rights. The ALLIANCE was represented at the inaugural EPF Members Network Event which saw patient groups from different countries come together to discuss approaches to advocacy and campaigning. Here the ALLIANCE showcased the work it is doing with Our Voice to support engagement through Integrated Authorities. At this event there was a specific interest in the ALLIANCE as a third sector intermediary – a position unique among EPF members.

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