Our European team review activities over 2018 for our annual report.
To maintain Scotland’s third sector profile in Brussels as Brexit approaches, the ALLIANCE is active within several European bodies. These include the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), the European Patients’ Academy (EUPATI) and the European Patients Forum (EPF).
On the EESC, ALLIANCE Director Irene Oldfather acts as the Third Sector Representative for Scotland. In a recent debate on health, Irene raised the importance of sharing good practice to ensure the highest standards of quality and care. She has worked closely with the European Commissioner for Health Vytenis Andriukaitis (pictured above) to emphasise the importance of working across borders to combat dementia.
Over the last year, the ALLIANCE has worked very closely with EUPATI UK to support the people we represent. The ALLIANCE and EUPATI UK hosted three separate workshops in London, Glasgow and Leeds to introduce and explore the role that patients and patient advocates can play as they contribute to medicines research and development. These workshops promoted people with lived experience as patient experts, allowing people to take part in clinical trials.
The ALLIANCE’s membership of the EPF has given a platform to projects within the organisation. For example, the ALLIANCE’s Dementia Carer Voices project was recently represented at the EPF’s Patient Advocates’ Seminar by their UK Project Lead Tommy Whitelaw, who was able to promote the principles of the project at a European level.
Outwith these partnerships, the ALLIANCE has carried out extensive engagement work, seeking to give a greater platform to the views of our members, local communities and the seldom heard voices in our society.
Following on from a survey of our members in 2017, the ALLIANCE embarked on a consultation at the beginning of 2018 seeking local communities’ views on Brexit. You can read a report summarising the findings of this consultation on the ALLIANCE website.
In partnership with Scottish Care and the International Foundation for Integrated Care, the ALLIANCE followed up this engagement work with a second consultation in the latter half of the year – this time investigating the potential impact of Brexit on older people in Scotland. This sought to reach out to the seldom heard voices in our society and hear from those who care for older people. Several pop-up workshops culminated in a final conference on 5 December, giving participants an opportunity to have their say, influence decision-making at a national level and ensure that the rights of older people in Scotland are taken into account in Brexit negotiations.
A report summarising the findings of this second consultation will be published in 2019.
Based on our members’ concerns, the ALLIANCE is currently promoting a Private Members Bill seeking to secure an independent evaluation of the effects of Brexit on the health and social care sector. 90 organisations from across the UK, many of which are members of the ALLIANCE, have now signed up in support of the Private Members Bill. The second reading debate will take place on 25 January 2019.