Green light for the EAU Policy Office: Prof. Hein Van Poppel appointed first chair to guide EAU’s policy activities

03 October 2021 Mrs. Sarah Collen, EAU Policy Coordinator

During the General Assembly 2021 the EAU members formally approved, with 94% of the General Assembly’s votes, the establishment of a new EAU Policy Office to make sure that the interests of European urologists and urological patients are taken into account on a European level. Prof. Hein Van Poppel is assigned as the Office’s first Chair.

Why the need for an EAU Policy Office?
Over the past years, the EAU has been increasing its influence over European Union (EU) policies that are of relevance to urological health care. At this moment the policy activities are at a critical time with the EAU being a major stakeholder in a number of matters that will have a lasting impact on the profession and the patients we care for. So the inauguration of the Policy Office comes at a perfect time to contribute to these issues to the best interest of our professions, but mostly our patients.

Prof. Van Poppel will take the helm as the first Chairman of this new Office as he is ideally located near the headquarters of the European Union (EU) institutions in Brussels, and has significant experience of working with EU decision makers. In 2007, the EAU Executive Committee asked him to take the lead on their behalf on representing EAU interests to the EU.

Initially the focus was on Prostate Cancer, including a strong campaign which has recently led to for the likely uptake in Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan. The work of the Policy Office will, however, not only be focused on uro-oncological issues, and in fact one of the first tasks will be to appoint a Vice-Chair from outside of oncology. These chairs will be supported by the EU Policy Manager, Sarah Collen, who implements the strategy of the Policy Office and makes sure we target the right policies and networks at the right time to have an impact on policies.

What are the priorities?
For the first two years, the objectives and deliverables are outlined in the strategic document, which includes 6 priorities:

  1. Inclusion of Early Detection of Prostate Cancer in Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan
  2. Facilitating EAU led research through EU funds
  3. Contributing to and taking advantage of digitalisation of health care and data driven research and technologies
  4. Promoting a supportive policy and funding environment for developing quality care for rare and complex urological conditions
  5. Facilitating a conducive regulatory environment for the regulation of medicines and medical devices
  6. Promoting patients’ advocacy for urological conditions

This plan therefore ties in activities and programmes from across the EAU and helps to build on the excellent scientific knowledge from across the organisation. Our next phase will be to ensure that each theme has an active network of working group members to ensure we are getting insights from across the EAU membership.

Who do we work with?
Patient outcomes are at the heart of our lobbying effort in Brussels and we will work with the Patient Office and its EAU Patient Advocacy Group (EPAG) to ensure initiatives that work together effectively.

It is really important too to work in partnership with our National Societies to ensure that the policies that are made in Brussels make sense to different nations and are useful and implementable.

We will also work in partnership with other networks of researchers, health care professionals, patients, industry representatives and regulators to raise shared concerns, but our voice is independent. The EAU is a member of the European Cancer Organisation (ECO), the Biomed Alliance and the European Alliance on Personalised Medicine (EAPM), among others.

Although our focus is the EU, we also work beyond its border and have strategic links with the WHO and in particular the WHO Europe Region Office to ensure our knowledge and expertise are relevant beyond the 27 EU member states.

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