Observatory Venice Summer School 2010

EU integration and health systems: challenges and opportunities for patients, professionals and policy-makers
(San Servolo, Venice, 25-31 July 2010)

Programme Outline

The Observatory Venice Summer School
The Observatory Venice Summer School brings together high-level policy-makers in a stimulating environment. It is organized by the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies and one of its partners, the Veneto Region of Italy. It draws on their experiences of promoting evidence-based policy-making and of providing a unique platform for European health policy debate in action.

This six-day course combines a core of formal teaching with a participative approach involving short presentations drawing on the experience of the participants, panel discussions and group work. The aim is to raise key issues, share and learn from each others’ experiences and insights as well as to build networks. The Summer School will rely on a combination of scientific studies on these subjects presented by academic experts as well as practical experience and insights from professionals with long-standing work experience in these fields.

The conference centre on the island of San Servolo, which is the property of the Province of Venice, also hosts the International University of Venice and offers a unique setting for mutual learning and informal exchange with mid-level and senior colleagues from various countries in Europe.

The Summer School is accredited by the European Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education and participation counts towards ongoing professional development in all EU Member States.

Recent Summer Schools have focused on Human Resources for Health (2007), Hospital Re-engineering (2008) and Health Technology Assessment (2009).

EU integration and health systems: challenges and opportunities for patients, professionals and policy-makers
The Summer School 2010 will look at the growing influence of European integration and regulation on health systems, and the practical opportunities and challenges that this creates for patients, professionals and policy-makers. It will explore different EU policy fields to identify links with health and assess their impact on health systems. The course will distinguish between policies that ‘directly’ and ‘indirectly’ relate to health policy, e.g. patient rights, cross-border care and patient mobility; professional education and movement; pharmaceutical licensing and evaluation; procurement of goods and services. The Summer School will focus on the implications for patients, professionals and policy-makers, and will also address the EU institutional framework, the process of policy development, the linkages with national and regional levels as well as the influence exerted by stakeholder and interest groups, following the approval of the Lisbon Treaty.

The main aim is to identify key issues where the EU creates challenges for national and regional health systems; share participants’ insights (whether they are health professionals, policy makers or analysts), and build contacts and networks to help respond.

Summer School directors and lecturers
The Summer School will be led by its Director, Professor Reinhard Busse (Berlin University of Technology). He will be supported by Professor Elias Mossialos (London School of Economics and Political Science) and Willy Palm (Dissemination Development Officer, European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies), who will act as co-directors. They are all affiliated to the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies.

They will be joined by a selected group of lecturers and facilitators who are among the leading international experts and practitioners in the field of EU integration in health, including contributors from the European institutions. Coordination with the European Commission is ensured by
Nick Fahy (Head of Unit, DG SANCO).

The six-day course will be organized into three modules

MODULE 1: The institutional and regulatory framework
This first module will develop a greater understanding of the institutional and regulatory framework in which health-related EU policies are being developed and the complexities and diversity it faces in relation to health systems. Starting from the European Treaty, the legal base for EU action in the field of health and health care will be explored. It will also map out the different institutions involved and their respective roles in developing policies targeting health or affecting health systems.

MODULE 2: Economic integration and health systems’ governance
In this module we will further explore the implications of economically oriented EU policy and regulation for health systems, health services and goods as well as for all actors involved. The creation of an internal market in health care and its related rules for ensuring free and fair competition will be the main focus.

MODULE 3: Supportive EU policies and instruments for health systems governance
This last module will focus on existing and possible routes for maximizing the opportunities that the EU creates for health systems and minimizing the potential threats through action at the different levels (EU, national and regional levels). We will analyse the policies and instruments that the EU has developed over time to support Member States in addressing public health threats, increasing social cohesion, ensuring quality of health care, improving efficiency and effectiveness as well as constructing evidence-based policies in these fields. One of the objectives is to identify critical issues and gaps and to explore scope and ways for improvement.

Cross cutting group work and political dialogue
In addition to the lectures, an important part of the programme will be dedicated to exchange between participants and to group work. Participants will be invited to work on a concrete case which is directly linked to the topics covered in the various lectures. They will present the result of this work at the end of the Summer School. This group work will be a way to put newly acquired insights into practice.

Also as part of the programme, a political round table will be organized, involving various policy-makers and representatives of agencies and institutions such as WHO Regional Office for Europe, the European Commission, as well as a stakeholder panel to reflect on their position and views with respect to the Summer School’s theme. In this way, the lectures, discussions and group work can be framed within the reality of health policy-making.

The Summer School is intended for senior to mid-level policy-makers and more junior professionals who are making careers in policy and management at a regional, national or European level.

The Summer School is specifically targeting

  • national and regional health policy-makers and their junior or senior advisers who wish to upgrade their knowledge and understanding of the EU policy framework and its likely impact on their professional work;
  • professionals working in the health sector whose responsibilities or areas of work are influenced by EU policy and who wish to achieve a better overview and insight in relevant EU policy and legal developments;
  • EU lawyers and practitioners who wish to acquire a better understanding of the specific issues and problems related to health systems governance and related EU policies.

Preferably, participants should be working in institutions with decision-making powers whether governmental or nongovernmental (e.g. ministries, national agencies, health institutes, EU institutions), relevant provider or payer associations (such as insurance boards, hospitals or hospital federations, management boards) or professional bodies. Also a limited number of applicants from the private sector will be considered.

Get-togethers and social programme
Participants will spend the week on the island and therefore will have many occasions for networking and informal exchange. Various events will be organised during the week to enjoy each others’ company and the magnificent setting of Venice. Besides the opening of the Summer School and welcome reception, a visit is planned to the WHO Office in Venice as well as an excursion to a villa.

Prior to the Summer School participants will have the opportunity to get acquainted with the theme and course content as well as with the other participants through the web site of the Summer School. Teaching material will include recent Observatory publications on the Summer School theme.

About the organizers
The European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies supports and promotes evidence-based health policy-making through comprehensive and rigorous analysis of the dynamics of health care systems in Europe and beyond. It engages directly with policy-makers and experts and works in partnership with research centres, governments and international organizations to analyse health systems and policy trends.

The Observatory is a partnership that reflects the dynamic nature of policy-making. It includes national governments and decentralized authorities (Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden, the Veneto Region, the French Union of Health Insurance Funds), international organizations (the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe, World Bank, the European Investment Bank and the European Commission) and academia (London School of Economics and Political Science, and London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine).

The Veneto Region seeks to ensure that empirical evidence and analysis reaches national and regional stakeholders and policy-makers. It is involved in comparing health care systems across EU Member States. The Veneto Region is active in the area of cross-border health care and it therefore plays a leading role in the EU in research and policy development. It is also actively involved in a number of networks, including EUREGHA, ERRIN, EuroHealthnet, WHO RHN, AER, HealthClusterNet, ESN, ENSA and ELISAN. The Veneto Region, which has been a partner of the European Observatory since 2004, is hosting the Summer School to promote recognition among policy-makers and because it is committed to providing a European platform for political debate on health matters, linking regional authorities to the EU debate.

How to apply
Please request an application form and/or send any questions regarding the Summer School at the following link: summerschool2010@obs.euro.who.int