The European Office is based in Brussels and London and is part of the NHS Confederation.
The Office covers a wide range of EU policy and legislative developments which have implications for the NHS, with a dedicated section on the NHS Employers website also covering European employment policy issues. In addition we offer a range of opportunities for NHS organisations to engage with EU affairs, to access EU support for innovation and to get involved in our work.
European Parliament votes on proposals for Tobacco Directive
On 26 February 2014, the full European Parliament voted to adopt the compromise text of the Tobacco Products Directive, informally agreed at EU level on18 December 2013. The text includes combined picture and text health warnings to cover 65 % of the front and the back of tobacco and cigarette packages, as well as extending the legislation to cover electronic cigarettes. The agreed text is expected to be approved by the Council of Ministers in mid-March. Read more.
Innovation Expo 2014
The NHS European Office spoke on the EU funding opportunites for research available to NHS organisations at the 2014 Innovation Expo which took place in Manchester at the beginning of March, an annual event showcasing the latest innovations in health and care. View our presentation from the event and find out more on EU funding from our webpage.
Joint statement on Data Protection Regulation
The NHS European Office has joined forces with non-commercial research organisations and academics to voice concerns over several of the amendments contained in the proposed EU Regulation on data protection. The amendments, if implemented, could have a detrimental effect on future health research. Read more.
European Parliament votes on new public procurement rules
On 15 January 2014, the European Parliament voted to approve new EU rules for public bodies when buying goods and services.The new EU Directive on public procurement intends to make the process of purchasing goods and services by public bodies - such as NHS organisations - faster, more flexible and more effective. Among other measures, the new rules allow purchasers greater opportunities to negotiate with bidders during the selection process and enable public bodies to pool their activities without always having to go out to tender. Read our press release and download our briefing from the public procurement page.
European Commission launches first calls for projects under Horizon 2020
The European Commission has published the first calls for projects under Horizon 2020, its new funding programme for research and innovation for the next seven years. The first calls focus on twelve areas, including personalising health and care, which aims to develop better health promotion and disease prevention strategies, as well as developing technologies to support healthy ageing. The European Office has published a briefing on the funding opportunities available to NHS organisations under the Horizon 2020 programme and further information is available on our Horizon 2020 web page.
European Parliament votes to allow NHS bodies to continue to produce specialist diagnostic tests for patients
On 22 October 2013 the full European Parliament voted on new legislation to replace the current Directive on in vitro diagnostic medical devices. The vote reflects many of the concerns put forward by the European Office on behalf of the NHS, and we are pleased that the European Parliament has backed our proposal to retain the “in-house” exemption in the revised Regulation for the vast majority of IVDs. Find out more.
Greece and Ireland referred to European Court
The European Commission has decided to refer both Greece and Ireland to the European Court of Justice for their failure to comply with the limits imposed on the working hours of hospital doctors contained in the Working Time Directive (WTD). Many European countries are finding it difficult to comply with the rigid restrictions on working time contained in the WTD and the European Office has long campaigned on behalf of the NHS for a common-sense relaxation of some of the rules to better fit services that operate 24 hours, such as healthcare. See our page for more on the Working Time Directive.
European health leaders visit Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust
A European summit showcasing NHS and European best practices in ensuring high-quality, patient-centred care took place in Birmingham on 28-29 October 2013. The event was jointly hosted by the NHS European Office, the NHS Confederation's Hospitals Forum and the European Hospital and Healthcare Federation (HOPE), and included a visit to Birmingham Heartlands Hospital, where a delegation of senior representatives from HOPE met with nurses to see first-hand their work to improve the quality of patient care.
Lessons from Europe: new briefings available
The European Office has published a further 2 briefings from its Lessons from Europe series of seminars, which it organised with LSE Health and the Health Services Research Network. The seminars aimed to demonstrate how health policy experience from Europe could be applied in practice in health organisations in England and heard from experts from several European countries on a range of health issues. See here to download the latest briefings.
NHS European Office secures changes to new EU rules on professional mobility
A final vote in the European Parliament on 9 October 2013 has agreed the new rules governing the movement of healthcare professionals across Europe. The vote follows months of negotiations and the NHS European Office engaged significantly with the Directive, securing important changes for the NHS, including whether and when incoming migrants can be subjected to language checks, mechanisms to prevent bad healthcare professionals from travelling to other EU countries to treat patients and the minimum standards for length and content of training.
The NHS European Office has produced a briefing which provides an overview of the key aspects of the new Directive and its implications for NHS organisations. See our press release and our page on the mobility of healthcare professionals.
New symbol to identify medicines undergoing additional monitoring
From September 1st 2013, a new symbol will appear on medicines which will allow patients and medical professionals to identify medicinal products that are subject to additional monitoring. Taking the form of an inverted triangle, the symbol will appear on the inside leaflet and the accompanying text will encourage patients and medical professionals to report any unexpected adverse reactions through national reporting systems. Read more.
EU Parliament vote secures continued patient access to MRI scanners
Following a successful campaign by the NHS European Office, the European Parliament voted on 11 June 2013 to allow continued patient access to life-saving MRI treatments, while at the same time protecting staff working with MRI scanners from adverse effects and risks to their health and safety. See our press release.
European Parliament backs NHS calls for Clinical Trials Directive changes
The European Parliament voted at committee stage on a new EU law to replace the existing controversial Clinical Trials Directive, agreeing many changes proposed by our Office on behalf of the NHS. We will continue to engage with EU decision-makers to ensure the changes are maintained in the final text. Read more about the Directive