Europe’s bright young minds turn to tackling cancer
5 February 2020
An event on World Cancer Day 2020 saw young people from across Europe come together to suggest innovative and patient-centred ideas for tackling cancer.
I had the privilege to spend this year’s World Cancer Day (4 February) coaching a fantastic group of young professionals from around Europe who were taking part in the European Health Parliament hackathon’s ‘tackling cancer’ track.
The European Health Parliament is now in its fifth year, bringing together young professionals from all over Europe to work on EU health policy recommendations.
A fresh take on prevention
At the hackathon, each group was asked to bring forth recommendations that were innovative, patient-centred, inclusive and potentially disruptive. The chosen priority in the cancer committee was prevention, but with a fresh take: looking at links with environment policies and potential risk factors, finding intersections between the EU Green Deal and Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan – also ensuring prevention programmes keep pace with research and our increasing understanding of the biological and genetic basis for cancer, in the form of new screening tests, for example.
It was exciting and motivating to see these bright young minds carry forth so passionately and professionally on these important topics for health policy.
Key themes in European health policy
Other themes which came across in the various workstreams included: the importance of improving healthcare professionals’ digital knowledge and the sharing of patient data – with huge hopes put in the European Health Data Space; the need to collect and act on patient perspectives of their care (a theme central to the findings of the All.Can patient survey, which HPP helped to develop); and the importance of giving mental health parity with physical health in all health policies, while providing greater support for people undergoing mental health difficulties in the workplace – again a theme that came across strongly in HPP’s report on depression (Words to Actions).
It was exciting and motivating to see these bright young minds carry forth so passionately and professionally on these important topics for health policy – really what the future of Europe should all be about.
We at HPP are excited to see the final recommendations coming from the European Health Parliament and hope that all relevant policymakers will pay attention to their concerns.