Last year, the European Health Forum Gastein (EHFG) convened for the first time as a health policy conference, crossing the boundaries of the European Union and societal sectors. International leading figures of health care gathered to discuss the creation of the European health system of the 21st century. The verdicts of the participants and mentors confirmed the organizers in their intention to have the EHFG convene annually with the purpose of bringing people together and promoting a dialogue. Just as the first European Health Forum Gastein, the follow-up event will also look for "ways to create a better future for health in Europe". A new aspect in the second EHFG, which will take place from October 6th to 9th, 1999 in Bad Hofgastein, Austria, shall be the examination of the wide range of challenges related to Health & Social Security.
The aim of this Forum is to support the development of a consensus on health policy at the beginning of the 21st century. The EHFG shall also elaborate a green book, which shall be sent to the national and European institutions and shall initiate its implementation, this in the course of further developing and redesigning pertinent policies. During this Forum, the main short- and long-term points of the working programme of the European Community, the member states, accession candidate countries and the regions for the further development of European health policy, and the interdependence between health, economy and ethics will be examined. The interaction between research & development, economy and society will be investigated. The impact of the Common Market and Economic and Monetary Union on health policy will be analysed. Chances and risks of the enlargement of the EU will be assessed, and experience on national and regional health policy will be exchanged.
The EHFG is organized in six parallel Forum Sessions divided into subtopics. An introductory and a final plenary session will provide opportunity to present and discuss starting points and results of these sessions. Plenary sessions and three parallel sessions will be set up. Lunch & Dinner Sessions are a platform for the presentation and discussion of specific issues related to the core themes. These include:
- Quality Assurance & Social Issues
- Social Exclusion & Health Systems
- Health Promotion
- Health & Information Technology
- Research & Development - Rare Diseases & Orphan Drugs
- Research & Development - Health & Biotechnology
The European Health Forum Gastein brings together high-level representatives from the political, scientific, economic and non-governmental sectors of EU member states and all other European countries to contribute towards setting up a framework for the creation of better health in Europe. International leading figures from politics, civil service, science and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) attend the EHFG as participants and speakers. The involvement of a wide variety of societal sectors in this political discussion ensures comprehensive and interdisciplinary analysis of questions related to the future of European health policy. With the EHFG 1999, the GD XII Research and Development of the European Commission will be supporting the event for the first time.
The EHFG desires to be a platform for the exchange of information and experience in health care beyond the conference period that links and provides support to people working for the healthy development of our society. The EHFG network shall promote the exchange of information, experience, and positions in the annual conference's preliminary phase. A database, a newsletter, newsgroups, and an interactive homepage are the instruments for stepping up co-operation with experts from the various technical fields in health care and to form alliances with them. Detailed information including - amongst other - the draft programme of the EHFG and registration details can be found on the EHFG Web site at http://www.ehfg.org. For information on the 1998 EHFG Congress Report, please check in at the VMW article Focus on European health care policy at the turn of the millennium in the April 1999 issue.