The European Kidney Forum

In 2015, EKHA launched the annual European Kidney Forum, held each Spring in Brussels, gathers delegates from over 20 countries. The Forum  is hosted by EKHA and the European Parliament MEP Group for Kidney Health. Nephrologists, renal nurses, kidney patients, regulators, commissioners, parliamentarians, WHO, health economists and National Ministries of Health, come to Brussels to exchange views and find solutions to contemporary issues in sustainable kidney care. Participants have the opportunity to meet with MEPs and discuss European and national responses to kidney health and patient care in their country.

2015 – Sustainable Kidney Care: Is it possible?

2016 – Moving from Disease Care to Health Care: The Importance of Prevention

2017 – Improving Patients’ Choice of Treatment

2018 – Kidney Donation and Transplantation 

2019Are We Meeting the Needs of Patients?

2020 – A Shared Vision for Improving Organ Donation and Transplantation in the EU beyond 2020

2021 – Unmet needs & challenges in access to treatments in Europe: The case of Chronic Kidney Disease. More information to come.

2015 – Sustainable Kidney Care: Is it possible?

In the first edition of the 2015 European Kidney Forum, European kidney stakeholders gathered to share experiences and discuss the burden of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), its sustainable management whilst assuring patients receive quality care. The European Kidney Forum launched in context of the upcoming EU initiative on chronic diseases, the launch of an MEP interest group on access to healthcare and promising developments in the field of the European Reference Networks. Following presentations, it was agreed that there was significant opportunities for improvement in disease prevention strategies and early detection programmes and that Europe has a role to play. The European Commission’s DG Sante, Albrecht Werner confirmed the Commission’s willingness to take a greater stance on prevention and cooperate with stakeholders in this field. To this end, EKHA contributed to the EU Action on Chronic Diseases through the European Chronic Disease Alliance and disseminated Recommendations for Sustainable Kidney Care amongst policy makers and health stakeholders to influence the EU policy on behalf of European kidney patients. Host MEP Karin Kadenbach and chair of MEP Group for Kidney Health committed to maximizing activities within the European Parliament to reinforce the support of the kidney health cause within the institutions.

2016 – Moving from Disease Care to Health Care: The Importance of Prevention

The 2016 European Kidney Forum, was an occasion to debate the need for an overhaul in healthcare systems in Europe, in order to shift from disease care to prevention. Participants discussed prevention measures to reduce the prevalence of chronic diseases, in particular chronic kidney disease, and on the related potential impact these actions can have in terms of health spending. This edition of the European Kidney Forum was strategically planned to coincide with the EU Conference on Chronic Diseases organised by the European Commission to present its forthcoming set of actions to address the issue at EU level. It also followed the launch of the Roadmap for Action on Food Product Improvement by the Dutch EU Council Presidency, to which EKHA was a signatory, and thus facilitated discussions on ways to enhance political action, building on the Netherlands’ Presidency approach. MEP Karin Kadenbach stressed need to coordinate care focused on the prevention, highlighting the importance of prevention in sustainable healthcare systems, acknowledging the lack of financial resources dedicated to prevention in EU and national health programmes.

2017 – Improving Patients’ Choice of Treatment

The 2017 European Kidney Forum, in alignment with the launch of the EUfunded EDITH pilot project (the “Effect of Differing Kidney Disease Treatment Modalities and Organ Donation and Transplantation Practices on Health Expenditure and Patient Outcomes”), brought about discussions on the importance of patient-centred decision making, the health economic factors behind treatment choice and how to address health inequalities across Europe and improve access to care. This edition of the European Kidney Forum also provided a platform to present the results of EKHA’s multi-country survey, which provides a snapshot of Renal Patient Choice in Europe. MEP Hilde Vautmans opening address highlighted the European Parliament’s role in facilitating and ensuring equality in the availability of treatment options and access to care, regardless of geography.

2018 – Improving Access to Transplantation: The gift of life

The 2018 European Kidney Forum opened with MEP co-chairs Hilde Vautmans and Karin Kadenbach, emphasising the role MEPs have in stimulating debate and consultations at national level to unleash the potential of the gift of life.

Session topics included:

-The transplant physician’s  view point: What is the situation of transplantation in Europe? How are EU countries doing? – Presented by Prof Rainer Oberbauer, Austria. European Society for Organ Transplantation.

-The EDITH project: What is it and what do the first results show? – Presented by Dr. Vianda Stel, Netherlands, ERA-EDTA Renal Registry

-The patient’s viewpoint – Presented by Fiona Loud, Kidney Care UK

-Organ Donation & Transplantation across the EU: the work of the European Commission – Presented by Stefaan Van der Spiegel, Belgium. Team Leader ‘Substances of human origin’, DG Santé, European Commission

-Challenges in kidney transplantation faced by Europe: what can be done? – Presented by Prof Raymond Vanholder, EKHA Chairman

This provided the occasion to launch the ‘Gift of Life’ Campaign, with a Call to Action and infographic illustrating disease burden, benefits of transplantation and opportunities for action.

2019 – Organ Donation and Transplantation in Europe: Are We Meeting the Needs of Patients?

The 2019 European Kidney Forum aimed to tackle the fundamental question “Are we meeting the needs of patients” in Organ Donation and Transplantation. The event offered an occasion to introduce the EKHA-led EU Thematic Network on Organ Donation and Transplantation as a powerful vehicle to shape future policy for organ donation and transplantation in Europe. Recurrent topics addressed during the Forum included the factors determining national differences; challenges of increasing donation and transplantation activity; patient empowerment and raising public awareness; the role of registries and improving data availability and quality; the mandate of the EU and governance and cooperation at different levels. The panel discussion made for a candid solution-oriented dialogue on Organ Donation and Transplantation. Experiences and good practices were shared in order to help move the dial in Europe, and to enable success stories and functioning models to be discussed and debated with a view to help raising the bar in other settings

2020 – A Shared Vision for Improving Organ Donation and Transplantation in the EU beyond 2020

On the eve of World Kidney Day, the 2020 European Kidney Health Forum called for renewed political momentum to optimise donation and transplantation of organs in Europe. The forum was introduced by EKHA President, Raymond Vanholder, who highlighted that although transplantation is a live-saving procedure, substantial discrepancies in transplantation rates remain throughout Europe. EKHA led the EU’s Thematic Network on Organ Donation and Transplantation, which published a Joint Statement setting out policy calls and recommendations as part of a joint vision for the coming decade.

Organ donation and transplantation is a focus of the Croatian Presidency of the Council of the EU. It is anticipated that such high-level attention to the topic will mobilise political will at national level to identify shared priorities, strengthen capacities and coordinate efforts and actions to successfully respond to common and emerging challenges in this field of public health.

Amongst the recommendations discussed at the Forum, which took place virtually due to European Parliament access restrictions related to COVID-19, were education and training, optimising the organisation of programmes at national and EU level, health economic aspects and societal challenges.