Report of the VAS-European Parliament 1st Event-April 2019

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VAS has obtained an Event in the European Parliament, with MEPs, Representatives of the Health and Research Commissions. A Delegate from the President of the EU Parliament was present to welcome and give his support to the socially and scientifically relevant topics included in the Programme .

Two linked key points:

  1. Vascular Diseases and in particular on Peripheral Arterial Diseases (PAD) are socially relevant and underestimated: there is a strong need for a EU strategy, education and 360° awareness
  2. Angiology/Vascular Medicine could be the turning point for Vascular Disease. There is a need for recognizing Specialty, Specialists and Centres, to prevent and take care of Vascular Diseases.

Each of the Speakers introduced and gave relevant data supporting our aims, stressing the human, social and economic impact of the existing deficiency inside of the NHS in all Europe and proposing new ways to prevent and educate. The Presentations were prepared by the VAS Board in a collaborative Team as reported in the Programme. Contributes were also from the National Societies: BWGA-BE, CSA-CZ, DGA- DE, GSL-GR, OGIA-AT, MAET-HU, PSA-PL, SFMV-FR, SIAPAV-IT, SRACV-RO, SSA-RS, SSHSVM-SV, SSVD-SL, VMsRCS-IRL

As invited Societies were also present representatives of ECF, ESVM, IUA.


Speakers and presentations:

Prof Mariella Catalano, University of Milan IT, President of VAS, introduced the need to respect the rights 1- of Vascular Patients and Population for a proper health assistance and medical expertise to avoid preventable diseases and deterioration (including acute events), and

2-of MD and Health Professionals to be recognized as Specialists, work in Centres of Angiology/Vascular Medicine, in all the European Countries and for young generations to continue be able working in Angiology/Vascular Medicine in their own Country.

Prof Gerry Fowkes, University of Edimburg UK, VAS Board, presented the progressively increasing burden of Vascular Diseases worldwide and in Europe, taking as an example the existing trends on Peripheral Arterial Diseases and tried to analyse the concomitant causes. First at all, due to the increasing ageing European Population, without a change of direction in the health system in favour of prevention, these diseases will cost more and more in terms of numbers and severity. Vascular Diseases and PAD particularly need attention and strategy.

Prof Dan M Olinic, University of Cluj Napoca RO, VAS Board, stressed the need of Preventive measures both in general terms as well as in terms of early diagnosis. Health system failures are paid not only in human but also in social and economic terms and impose unjustified costs for acute and chronic complications that can be eliminated. Ethical responsibilities are also involved. Two VAS slogans launched at the International level “No More Vascular Amputations!” and “No More Venous Ulcers!” explain easily the power of prevention and the responsibility we have in defining NHS strategies. “PAD & Vascular European Days” launched by VAS in 2014, joined by more than 20 Scientific Societies, need EU support and dissemination.

Prof Zsolt Pecsvarady, Teaching Hospital Kistarcsa HU, VAS Board, analysed who takes care of Vascular Patients today in Europe and how low is the care we offer compared to the possible one, maintaining the same costs or even reducing them with an approach based on the expertise on Angiology/Vascular Medicine (synonymous). Angiology/Vascular Medicine has been defined (UEMS Chapter6) as well as the European Training Requirements to guarantee Specialists Training and Training Centres European quality and offer (UEMS ETR in Angiology/Vascular Medicine Document) have been established.

Prof Sebastian M Schellong DE, President of DGA, explained the opportunities and the advantages (from social, Patients and Physicians point of views) in Countries where Angiology/Vascular Medicine is a recognized Specialty. He also emphasizeded the reduction of complications and costs for Patients treated in Centres of Angiology/Vascular Medicine compared to other Depatements. Prof Karel Rostocil CZ, University of Prague, introduced the existing need of covering all the areas of the Country with A/VM Centres, to give the same opportunities to the whole Population, also in Countries where the specialty is recognized. Prof Isabelle Quere FR, University of Montpellier FR, explained the existing differences between the approach by a Specialist in Angiology/Vascular Medicine and the ones given by specialists of different areas, in terms of continuity, Patient compliance and results.

Prof Jean Claude Wautrecht BE, Universitè Libre de Bruxelles, VAS Board and UEMS Div A/VM President, has presented the situation of the Specialty in Europe and inside of the EU where it is recognized in a number of Countries that doesn’t reach the requests of the European Directives. He also introduced the existing activities related to A/VM in terms of presence of representative inside of the UEMS Division, of National Societies, Centres etc. The need of a recognition for the specialists and the Expertise in Angiology/Vascular Medicine is urgent to avoid that an already existing huge number of expertise and centres arrive to be deleted instead of improved as request from social point of view.

Prof Marc Hess, Vice-President on behalf of the UEMS Executive Board presented the UEMS focus of action and structure to harmonize and improve quality to guarantee patients. Aims and main activities were descried for CESMA – Council for European Specialists Medical Assessment, EACCME – European Council for Continuous Medical Education, ECAMSQ – European Council for Accreditation of Medical Specialist Qualification and role of UEMS Sections, Divisions etc. in qualification.   In particularly, for the CESMA-UEMS European Exam: one single examination after training in European Centres of Excellence delivers an EU diploma as a certificate as quality mark, increasingly direct access to Europe wide recognition. European Commission and Parliament could support initiatives aiming at harmonising

training and assessment within specialties invite the member states’ national competent authorities support initiatives aiming at harmonising training and assessment within specialties to support their local agencies to adhere to the high quality UEMS standards.

Prof Mariella Catalano, University of Milan IT, President of VAS, supported with data and proposals the need of an harmonized offer to the European Population and Patients. The existing long acting Educational/Validation/Accreditation European Process realized by VAS and UEMS built-up an European Integrated Education and Training qualified Programme (EU Master, EU Postgraduate courses, EU Book, European Training Fellowship, European Accredited Centres..), to obtain European qualification even with the UEMS Diploma. The existing social needs ask for an immediate support in Countries where the Specialty doesn’t exist. European Commission and Parliament could help (in the process to achieve the demands of the EU Directives for the Specialty) in suggesting and supporting local agreements with the national Authorities to recognize the UEMS Diploma in Angiology as a first step, to allowed Physicians to give appropriate assistance to the Patients and Population in recognized Angiology/Vascular Medicine centres.

Prof Grigoris T Gerofziafas, ISET-University of Sorbonne FR, VAS Board, analysed the complex problem of the support to research and the unbalanced results obtained and published on Vascular Diseases compared to other areas. The relevant involvement of the EU in supporting European independent research, should consider that time Is now for giving Vascular Diseases new chance. Publications and citations in PAD remains very limited both in terms of research results than in clinical trials, even in Critical leg Ischaemia, the condition with the highest risk of mortality, acute events and amputation EU Commissions and EU Parliament would consider to allocate sufficient funds from the future Horizon Europe for basic, clinical and translational research in PAD.

Proposals by VAS and Conclusions by the MEP   They were both following the concepts and aims reported in the Short VAS General Satement