Welcome to Health Europa Quarterly Issue 23, which features fascinating expert insights in the fields of infection control, future pandemic preparedness, antimicrobial resistance, women’s health, health technology, medical cannabis, and much more.
Ahead of what is predicted to be the toughest winter on record for England’s National Health Service (NHS), health leaders have set out resilience plans to prepare for increased demand and capacity pressures. Protective measures will include care traffic control centres rolled out in local communities, as well as new hubs dedicated to serious respiratory infections and the expansion of fall response services. Vaccines will again be a key component in protecting at-risk individuals from viral infections, a point reiterated in Health Europa Quarterly’s interview with Dr Andrea Ammon, Director of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, who opens our section on infection prevention and control.
Preparedness is a central theme throughout this issue as we ask leaders across healthcare how the lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic can inform the public health response to major health threats. Rohit Malpani from the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership challenges the denotation of antimicrobial resistance as ‘the silent pandemic’ given the urgency with which AMR interventions are needed. Rosa Castro from the European Public Health Alliance also argues for alternatives to a transferable exclusivity extension to address the lack of new antibiotics.
Health Europa Quarterly also focus on the ever-evolving role of diagnostic technologies and their potential to transform patient management and clinical decision-making. Professor Till Bachmann, an expert in molecular diagnostics, shares how diagnostic tools can aid optimal antimicrobial therapy. Similarly, GP and Medical Director, Dr Vishal Shah, draws on opportunities to scale up at-home and remote digital care by optimising smart diagnostic infrastructure implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Given the ongoing challenges in staff retention and wellbeing across healthcare, Dr Lesley Kay, Acting Executive Medical Director of the UK’s Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch, discusses the importance of advocating a no-blame culture within care, while Dr Adriano Friganovic, President of the European Specialist Nurses Organisation, encourages us to consider the true realities faced by the medical workforce. Health Europa Quarterly also examine the impact of the UK’s PPE shortage during the pandemic and its wider implications.
Optimising novel technologies is further explored in our Technology and Innovation section, where we interview professors in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine about the challenges of translating research into clinical practice. Similarly, we learn of the encouraging developments taking place in cancer research and genomics with the team behind global initiative, Cancer Grand Challenges, and Parker Moss from Genomic England’s Cancer 2.0 programme.
Our section on women’s health explores the issues arising in cardiovascular care when sex and gender are not suitably addressed. We spoke to author and leading cardiologist Professor Angela Maas about the need for greater female representation in clinical trials and medical training on female-specific cardiovascular risk factors. Education on female health also informs part of our interview with Plan International UK, a global charity whose remit includes ending period poverty and the stigma around menstruation.
This edition closes with our Health Policy section where we delve into the health and environmental impacts of air pollution and single-use plastic in healthcare. You will also find an interview with Senior Human Rights Officer at the European Disability Forum (EDF), Marine Uldry, who shares the challenges people with disabilities face when accessing healthcare. I would also urge you to read this issue’s foreword by EDF representative Vera Bonvalot, who further explores this important topic.
I hope you find the following articles as informative and interesting as I have in their collation.
Health Europa Quarterly