We remain committed to maintaining strong third sector relationships and communications with colleagues in Europe.
In 2020, the ALLIANCE worked to maintain Scotland’s third sector profile in Europe. We did so by maintaining representation on several European bodies including the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), the EIP on AHA (European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing), the European Patients’ Academy (EUPATI) and the European Patients Forum (EPF).
We began the year with the EESC paying tribute to its British members on 22 January 2020 at the last plenary session they attended before the UK’s exit from the EU on 31 January. ALLIANCE representative Irene Oldfather received a commemorative medal at a ceremony that showed the EESC’s commitment to maintaining strong ties with British civil society after Brexit.
We communicated plans for a soft launch of EUPATI Scotland to our stakeholders and maintained their key involvement and attended and represented EUPATI Scotland at the TOPRA in Scotland webinar where we participated in round table discussion.
In light of the COVID-19 outbreak in March, we remained committed to learning from colleagues in Europe in their response to and recovery from the pandemic. We responded and shared the ‘EPF open memo to Health Industry’ across our networks, hosted Nicola Bedlington, Special Advisor for the EPF for an ALLIANCE Live podcast to discuss how EPF is continuing to involve the patient voice during COVID-19 and engaged with colleagues across Europe to contribute their messages of hope to the ALLIANCE Message in a Bottle wellbeing campaign.
ALLIANCE Director of Strategy and Engagement Irene Oldfather also chaired an international online panel event – ‘Economic recovery and the impact on health inequalities – an international perspectives’ (this link will take you away from our website) as a part of the ALLIANCE Annual Conference Week 2020. For this event, we were joined by colleagues from the Scottish Parliament and Europe including Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture, Derek Feeley, Senior Fellow Institute of Health Care Improvement, Luca Jahier, President of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and Nicola Bedlington, Special Advisor European Patients Forum (EPF). This digital event affirmed our view that it is essential to maintain relationships across borders to share learning and achieve stronger health and wellbeing outcomes.
Throughout the year, we also supported international research proposals with the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) and International Centre for Integrated Care (IFIC).
Our ambitions for patient engagement in Scotland have remained a key focus throughout the year and the events of this year have made clear how important this is. We inputted into ENP newsletters, shared EPF communications widely across all of our networks, attended ENP Fundraising Training sessions and launched our new website. Through these opportunities, the ALLIANCE has been able to work towards giving a greater platform to the views of our members, local communities and the seldom heard voices in our society next year.
In 2021, we hope to host a formal EUPATI Scotland launch and maintain links with our EU sister organisations and networks with to ensure a strong voice for people with lived experience.
Reports of other ALLIANCE programme activities during 2020 can be found in our News section.