On 27th January 2021 the European Parliament Lung Health Group hosted the ‘Towards a European Health Union: BREATHE vision for the future’, the digital launch of the Breathe Vision for 2030.

Breathe Vision for 2030 is an informal, collective initiative of European level patient groups and healthcare professionals. It was formed with a goal to empower patients with lung diseases through better care, increased patient participation and improved prevention around lung disease, as well as to recognise respiratory health as a priority for the EU.

 

The Breathe Vision focuses on five central themes in its goals:

  • Awareness: increase information and awareness to create informed co-decision making and compassionate responses.
  • Prevent: Support ambitious goals in Europe to increase education, environmental protection, behavioural changes, and improved air quality for prevention of lung diseases.
  • Care: Advocate for a coordinated, multi-level approach to high quality care across Europe for everyone, by utilising digital tools, specialised knowledge, real-world evidence and more.
  • Research: Advocate for an increased commitment to investment in research to tackle the complexity and the slow speed of treatment development.
  • COVID-19: Maintain and leverage the huge efforts made to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic for all respiratory diseases, to address the short- and long-term impacts on the lungs.

The digital launch was hosted by the MEP Lung Health Group: a group of Members of the European Parliament who support exploring ways that lung health and respiratory disease can be addressed at the European level, through legislation and policy development.

The event was attended by over 200 people, and we were delighted to welcome members of the MEP Lung Health Group: MEPs István Ujhelyi, Željana Zovko and Sean Kelly; as well as European Commission DG Sante Deputy Director-General, Pierre Delsaux; and Coordinator of the WHO European Office for Noncommunicable Diseases, Jill Farrington. Each speaker presented their vision for the future of respiratory health across Europe and their aims for tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.

European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients’ Associations (EFA) President, Mikaela Odemyr and ERS Past President, Thierry Troosters together presented the Breathe Vision paper and outlined the core aims of the collaboration.

They highlighted the urgent need to address respiratory health must be seen at the European level, as 1 in 8 deaths in the EU are due to lung diseases which is only amplified by the coronavirus global pandemic.

This was followed by an interactive virtual roundtable with representatives of the other patient group partners of Breathe Vision: Alpha-1 Belgium; Cystic Fibrosis Europe (CF-E); European Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Federation (EU-IPFF); Lung Cancer Europe (LuCE); Pulmonary Hypertension Association Europe (PHA-E); and Tuberculosis Coalition Europe (TBEC).

In the roundtable discussion, key issues were brought to light to show the wide depth of topics the Breathe Vision paper covers, including calling for the need to reduce stigma around lung disease. Prevention issues were highlighted including that currently only 3% of the health budget is spent on prevention while air pollution and tobacco and e-cigarettes continue to have harmful impacts on lung health. Key care goals were also presented to the audience including timely, accurate diagnosis & access to the right care and working with the EU on its Pharmaceutical Strategy to ensure patient access to innovative and affordable medicines across Europe.

After a Q&A session with the audience, European Lung Foundation (ELF) Chair, Kjeld Hansen, closed the webinar along with MEPs Željana Zovko and Sean Kelly.

To read the full report, click here.

You can read the Breathe Vision paper by clicking here.

You can watch a recording on the event here.

More information about the MEP Lung Health group.