WONCA Europe Newsletter June 2020
Dear WONCA Europe members, chairmans and presidents of our member organisations, networks and special interest groups, dear family doctors all around WONCA Europe region.
As many of our countries are slowly coming out of lockdown, we are now facing a ‘new normal’ in healthcare. We have adapted to this unprecedented global crisis with compassion, collaboration and innovation. This pandemic has affected every corner of our lives and as family physicians, we will see the medical, social and economic effects of this virus for years to come. We are the first in and last out. With increasing use of technology as well as the use of Personal Protection Equipment when seeing patients, it seems like we are taking some physical as well as emotional distance from our patients. We have to find our way in this new world preserving and even increasing our traditional values.
This month, we present the Ukrainian Association of Family medicine (UAFM) who have been developing primary care since 1998. We also would like to present the European General Practice Research Network (EGPRN) - our WONCA Network for research in primary care. It is an opportunity to call all our members to send materials to SecretariatEurope@wonca.net, interesting stories and reflections for our upcoming editions.
On behalf of WONCA Europe Executive Board
Sonia Tsukagoshi, VdGM, Member at large
Shlomo Vinker, President Elect of WONCA Europe
WONCA Europe Newsletter Editors
Presidents' Letter - Family Doctor & WHO & Pandemic: the way forward
Dear Members, Dear Colleagues
The lessons learned from the current COVID-19 pandemic in many places in Europe is that pandemic preparedness is not the only influencing factor for an adequate pandemic response. The emergency response can only go so far if the health system’s first line of defense – primary health care – is alert and up to the task. Family Doctors are at the heart of this first line defense.
We are on the frontlines. Globally, about 16% of all COVID-19 cases reported occurred in health care workers. More than one thousand have already died globally and 55% of deaths were physicians, and 27% of the deaths were FD/GP according to the news. Hope that list is completed and not increasing more. Including WHO Europe some authors are expecting a second wave in the autumn.
We saw that there were and still are gaps in front line PHC level: health supplies, such as masks, hand sanitizer and other PPE are lacking. Shortcomings of the primary health care system are far more than just about supplies; it is also about organization, scope of practice and prioritization. We all aspire to see a stronger primary health care that would be more like a one stop shop, with trusted nurses or doctors, available and trained to give safer care and answer questions regardless of outbreaks or changes around. Primary health care should be the first place everyone turns to, for health services or information, using hospitals only when truly necessary.
WONCA Europe is strengthening the partnership with WHO Europe, to reflect on the role of Family Doctors and the COVID-19 Pandemic and ways to fully unlock the potential of primary health care for responding better to the current pandemic and preparing for disease outbreaks we will inevitably face in the future.
On June 4th together with WHO Europe we organized a joint webinar open to Family Doctors and other PHC experts, to discuss the vital role of the family physician for a better and stronger PHC in times of COVID-19 and other health threats. The participation of our members and member colleges was very high. This was a unique opportunity not easy to repeat. If you were not able to join or want to watch it again, you may find the sessions recording on our YouTube channel.
Dr Austin O'Carroll - WONCA Europe 5 Star Doctor 2020
WONCA Europe is proud to announce the winner of the WONCA Europe Award of Excellence in Health Care: The 5-Star Doctor 2020: Austin O’Carroll from Dublin, Ireland
Dr O'Carroll will be one of the European candidates for the WONCA World 5-Star Doctor Award of 2020 in Abu Dhabi in November.
Watch the recording - Family Physicians and the COVID-19 Pandemic: The way forward
On June 4th WHO Europe and WONCA Europe conducted a joint webinar. Opening speeches were made by Dr Hans Kluge, WHO Regional Director for the European Region and Prof Dr Mehmet Ungan, President of WONCA Europe. Dr Natasha Azzopardi Muscat, from WHO made a presentation on "Options for a better PHC Response to Pandemic and other crises: Primary Health Care roles and capacities: Options for System transformation". While from WONCA Europe Prof. Dr. Thomas Frese presented "Challenges facing Family Doctors in Fighting COVID-19: Experiences from the Field". After the presentations a Q&A session was held. You may watch the recording of this webinar on our YouTube channel.
By Prof. Larisa Matyukha
Dear European colleagues!
Congratulations from the Ukrainian Association of Family Medicine!
The motto of our Association is "Health of Ukrainians is in the hands of a family doctor".
We made a long way of family medicine development in our country from the post-Soviet (Semashko’s) very specialized system of medical care to the new European management of primary care based on general practice. The specialty of family medicine was introduced in Ukraine in 1996... Click here to read the rest of this article on our website.