E-News April 2024

EAP Spring Meeting 2024 in Porto, Portugal

Apr 25, 2024

EAP SPring MEETING IN PORTO, Portugal | 11-12 April 2024

It was such a pleasure to host 53 EAP Delegates and members at the Spring Meeting in Porto, Portugal from 11-12 April. There were wonderful debates, interesting thoughts and sharing of ideas from our  interactive participants. The sessions were interesting and engaging.

Here are a few highlights of each session:

Rare Diseases Strategic Advisory Group, led by Risto Lapatto (Finland) presented an overview of the consultation possibilities available for non-members of the European Reference Networks (ERNs), emphasising the importance of leveraging ERNs for consultations and accessing relevant databases. Attendees were encouraged to explore these resources to enhance collaboration and knowledge sharing. A detailed discussion ensued regarding the  challenges encountered by children with rare diseases. Concerns were raised regarding the interpretation of GDPR regulations affecting data sharing for registries. 

The highlight of the Choosing Wisely session, led by chair Corinne Wyder (Switzerland), was the exciting presentation of the Choosing Wisely top 10 Recommendations to physicians. Susanne Suggs joined as a guest speaker, highlighting the innovative methods adopted by the EAP-Choosing Wisely team to disseminate recommendations, such as creating hashtags and QR codes for social media amplification and postcard-sized materials for distribution in medical practices. She spoke about how to leverage technology and consistent framing strategies contribute to promoting smarter medicine across different regions. The challenges and Strategies in Addressing Vaccine Hesitancy and the complexities of vaccine hesitancy were all touched on, emphasising the importance of tailored communication strategies to parents and acknowledging the influence of trust, cultural beliefs, and vaccine fatigue. 

These great assets are now available freely on EAP’s website!

During the EAPRASnet session, Zachi Grossman (Israel) shared the latest publication, Over-investigation and overtreatment in paediatrics: a survey from the European Academy of Paediatrics and Japan Pediatric Society.

 Lukasz Dembinski (Poland) shared the Button batteries awareness survey, which is a part of the  #PowerSafely EAP-Duracell campaign to drive awareness of the dangers of swallowing coin batteries, in particular related to Lithium Coin batteries, for children. To help keep families safe, they are joining forces to “power safely”. Together, they are educating parents and caregivers about the dangers of swallowing lithium coin batteries – and how to prevent it.

Results will be available soon!

Secondary-Tertiary Care Council

In a recent meeting, the European Training Requirements (ETRs) were at the forefront of discussions, shedding light on crucial updates and revisions within various medical specialties. The chair provided insights into the connection between ETRs and UEMS specialties, highlighting recent updates in neonatology, nephrology, endocrinology, and diabetes. Additionally, ongoing revisions were discussed, including those for paediatric rheumatology, metabolic medicine, intensive care, and oncology. Notably, Rob Ross Russell activated the update for the ETR on Respiratory Diseases, previously overdue since 2014. While the process for adding new subspecialties to the UEMS list remains challenging, efforts are underway to ensure comprehensive coverage across medical disciplines. Moreover, discussions delved into the ETR for Metabolic Medicine, emphasising the need for alignment with UEMS formatting standards to enhance accessibility and relevance. Furthermore, updates on the ETR for Paediatric Hematology and Oncology were shared, reflecting a broader scope encompassing both malignant and non-malignant conditions, with a focus on comprehensive patient care and treatment modalities. Lastly, attention was drawn to the European Training Requirements for Paediatric and Neonatal Intensive Care Medicine, underscoring the importance of aligning training expectations across subspecialties to ensure optimal patient outcomes. The meeting concluded with a commitment to thorough review processes and collaborative efforts to uphold the highest standards in medical education and practice.

European Board of Paediatrics

The latest European Exam, held on November 21st, 2023, marked the fifth iteration of this pivotal knowledge-based assessment. With 120 questions spanning a 2 ½ hour timeframe, the exam continues to serve as a cornerstone in harmonising paediatric knowledge and curricula across European countries. Initially launched in October 2020, the biennial exam has garnered strong endorsement from CESMA and UEMS, solidifying its status as a vital asset of EBP/EAP. The year 2023 witnessed substantial efforts dedicated to enhancing the question bank, culminating in a productive Question Review Meeting held in Ghent in September 2023, graciously hosted by Ann de Guchtenaere. Under the guidance of seven dedicated individuals, over 100 new questions were meticulously crafted and integrated into the existing repository, ensuring the exam’s ongoing relevance and rigour. Noteworthy advancements were made in the presentation of results, offering candidates a comprehensive breakdown of their performance. From an overall score comparison to detailed analyses by section, topic, and subject, successful candidates now benefit from an insightful review of their strengths and areas for improvement. This enhanced feedback mechanism empowers examinees to refine their knowledge and skills, ultimately contributing to the elevation of paediatric care standards across Europe.

European Accreditation Centres

European Accreditation Centres update by Ana Neves (Portugal) was another highlight of the EBP session.  The European Accreditation Centres play a pivotal role in upholding quality standards in medical education and practice. A summary of the Visitation Protocol illuminates the meticulous process involved in ensuring excellence:

  • Initiating the Request: The process commences when a centre expresses its interest in accreditation by reaching out to either the EAP or the relevant specialist society. This initial step sets the groundwork for collaboration and evaluation.
  • Organising the Visiting Team: Upon receiving the request, the liaison officer and EAP secretariat spring into action, collaborating with the European Scientific Subspecialty Society and the country’s subspecialty delegate and Scientific Society. Together, they meticulously organise a visiting team comprising experts in the field.
  • Endorsing the Visiting Members: The visiting team, comprising individuals officially endorsed by EAP, embodies a wealth of expertise and experience. Their endorsement by EAP underscores their credibility and ensures thorough evaluation of the centre.
  • Informing the Centre: Transparency and communication are paramount throughout the process. The centre is duly informed about the impending visitation, setting the stage for constructive engagement and feedback.

Through this protocol, European Accreditation Centres uphold the highest standards of quality and efficacy, fostering continuous improvement and advancement in medical education and practice.

General Assembly

The General Assembly buzzed with energy. Michael Dickstein, Corporate Affairs Director Europe & Africa  from Duracell, set the stage for an engaging discussion with a short presentation the campaign to raise awareness and prevent the swallowing of Button Batteries across Europe. EAP and Duracell united forces in a groundbreaking campaign to raise awareness about the risks of swallowing coin batteries, especially Lithium Coin batteries, among children. Through the “power safely” initiative, the aim is to empower families with knowledge on preventing such incidents. Multilingual infographics and dynamic presentations were on the horizon, promising to amplify our message far and wide.

The president elaborated the EU-funded and vaccination initiatives that EAP is currently involved in, including the  Vaccinate your Child Campaign, Core-MD project,  ImmuHubsRIVER EU (project on vaccine equity) & IMMUNION

The Treasurer, Lukasz Dembinski (Poland) shared insights on EAP-EBP’s financial status, elaborating how the two entities fit together and finally discussing the long-term financial health of the European Academy of Paediatrics. The policies on accepting donations/fundings were briefly discussed, as well as the long-term plan with EAP National Member fees. 

A furhter highlight was the announcement of the REACH Strategic Advisory Group. Read more here.

Young EAP

There’s always a distinct energy that pulses through when the Young EAP’s session kicks off, and it was no different at the Spring Meeting in Porto. It’s a gathering that ignites passion, fosters innovation, and propels the future of paediatrics forward.

YEAP’s core goals are ambitious yet attainable: represent, educate, innovate, advocate, and collaborate. These pillars serve as the foundation for their initiatives, guiding their efforts to shape the landscape of paediatric training and healthcare.

Representing the interests of paediatric trainees across Europe, YEAP serves as a vital voice within the EAP, participating in councils, committees, and working groups. But their reach extends far beyond the confines of boardrooms—they are a beacon of support and guidance for trainees navigating the complexities of their profession. One of YEAP’s most exciting initiatives mentioned at the Spring Meeting is the establishment of an Exchange Program for European Residents in Paediatrics. This program is a testament to their commitment to intercultural learning and education, breaking down barriers and fostering collaboration across borders. Read more about this initiative here.

Ethics

During the Ethics Session, Joe Brierley (UK) initiated crucial discussions regarding the necessary ethics framework for the EAP, presenting three potential approaches: providing advice to all members, establishing a dedicated working section with defined terms of reference, or forming an advocacy group focused on children’s issues. Emphasising the need to professionalise the ethics group and enhance engagement, Dr. Brierley underscored the significance of ethical considerations in paediatrics, particularly in decision-making, treatments, and interactions with families.

Looking forward to 2024, the Ethics Working Group has devised an ambitious work plan, targeting key areas such as the Ethics & Law curriculum, consent in neonatal/paediatric intensive care, compassionate therapy for children with rare diseases, and the transition of ethically complex treatments in Europe.

We urge both young and experienced members to join us in EAP’s Strategic Advisory Groups! Your participation is pivotal in shaping the landscape of paediatric healthcare and safeguarding the well-being of children throughout Europe.

Adolescent Health

The Adolescent Health session was a highlight, marked by significant discussions and key announcements by the current chair, Artur Mazur. Notably, Helena Fonseca, was elected as the new co-chair of the group. Amidst conversations on updates in paediatrics, the importance of adaptability to changing trends was emphasised. Key points from the session included a focus on enhancing critical skills in paediatric care, advocating for the inclusion of adolescent health in education, proposing revisions to the syllabus on adolescent girls’ health, and advocating for the incorporation of adolescent health questions in paediatric examinations.

Thank you for joining us in Porto, Portugal and we hope to see those of you who missed this event at the Winter Meeting in Belgium from 6-7 December 2024!

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