The 2016 EFPC conference in Riga was again a success. With 145 participants it was well attended and the strength of the conference was in the content and discussions.
Most of all other presentations of the parallel sessions can also be found at the conference Programme webpage


The 2016 EFPC conference will be in Riga from 4 to 6 September with the title: Crosscutting Informal Care and Professional Primary Care”.
Scope: How to make sure that informal carers at community level will feel supported, surrounded and even integrated with professional Primary Care in such a way that the best possible care can be provided for those elderly or chronic patients. 

Health systems will not automatically gravitate towards greater fairness and efficiency. This world will not become a fair place for health all by itself. Deliberate policy decisions are needed. It requires appropriate conditions at the health care system level and in actual practice to make primary care providers able and willing to take responsibility for the health of the population under their care. The EU Health Commissioner defined the challenges as follow: we need to ensure the cost-effectiveness and sustainability of health systems and call for concrete reforms to optimize the hospital sector, strengthen primary care and rationalize pharmaceutical spending.

There is a need for a policy shift from separation to integration of services in order to tackle the complex social and health problems experienced by vulnerable populations. In order to enable these people to maintain stability and encourage independency and employment, access to stable services that suit their complex needs must be ensured.

Fragmentation is often the result of organisations, professionals, carers and services operating independently of each other, with adverse consequences for service users. Often, a comprehensive set of changes in the health care delivery is needed to firstly improve coordination of care with a special focus on addressing the rising burden of Chronic Diseases, the ageing population and the high prevalence of comorbidity. Secondly, in acknowledging the specific needs of the individual, people centeredness and patient empowerment are key in this approach. Much of the focus on fighting fragmentation has tended to be on structures and governance. This is, however, only one aspect; process and cultural changes are likely to be at least as important.

Integrated primary care with the involvement of the informal carer as a hub for person-centred health systems with ensured continuity. The conference organizers emphasize that the key players in primary care like medical doctors, nurses (general and more specialized), pharmacists, dieticians, physiotherapists and social workers will connect with informal carers on the above mentioned dimensions.

The limited empirical evidence-base for, and the absence of tools for, measurement and comparison of involving informal carers remain a significant barrier for the evaluation and implementation of these policies. The conference organizers recognize the need for comparative analysis at an international level to assist stakeholders and policymakers to prepare for future challenges. It calls upon all researchers from the different professions to share their results in providing the evidence which is needed to develop further progress and nurture the policy discussion.

The conference will provide an opportunity for the health service delivery system to interact and exchange useful information and lessons learnt. The conference will therefore build upon the individual capacities and knowledge of informal carers, pharmacists, patients/citizens, GPs, hospitals, nurses and health insurers, to increase their understanding.

The Riga conference will enable participants to identify, define and appreciate the significance of questions -ranging from policy to organization, management and clinical care – which are likely to determine the future of primary care in Europe.