WONCA Europe: Future Plan

Dr Anna Stavdal, WONCA Europe president reports on recent WONCA Europe Council activities relating to their Future Pan 2016-2019
Driven by the Future Plan for WONCA Europe 2016-2019 (our strategic document for the triennium with the three main goals to build identity, increase visibility and exert influence), the activities of our organisation were reviewed by the WONCA Europe Council in Krakow:

• Our communication strategy, which constitutes a prerequisite to reach these abovementioned goals, has been advancing. We have worked to foster internal organisational synergies and cooperation, and guarantee that our stakeholders and the rest of the world sees, understands and engages with our efforts. To encourage continuity, structural reforms have been established, with a specific advisory board and a facilitator joining our communications efforts.

• One of our priorities has also been to ensure that our networks, which drive the content creation for our organisation, receive support and take advantage of our broad community and its resources. Internally, we have observed a better and more efficient collaboration among the networks, with synergies being identified and established, content being developed in a collaborative way (including statements and policy papers), and infrastructure and resources being used more appropriately.

• With increased visibility, WONCA Europe has received more invitations for collaboration with other organisations related to primary care. A prominent such example, is the close relationship with Regional Office for Europe of the WHO. To reach Universal Health Coverage through strong family medicine, it is important to close the gap between public health and primary care, and WONCA plays an important part. Indeed, representatives from WHO Europe have participated in joint sessions with WONCA Europe at our annual conference for the last three years.

• Dr Anna Stavdal, WONCA Europe President, is the chair of the advisory board to the WHO Europe Primary Care Centre in Almaty, and is involved in the preparations for the Alma Ata anniversary in October this year. She is also a member of the Health Systems Foresight Group set up in connection with the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Tallinn Charter, which took place in Estonia, and was invited as panellist at the high-level WHO Europe meeting on NCDs in Spain in May.

• The European Forum for Primary Care (EFPC) is a multiprofessional organisation, advocating for a primary care with an interprofessional team in its core. WONCA Europe continues to work close with EFPC, and Professor Mehmet Ungan, the WONCA Europe President Elect, is a member of the its Advisory Board.

• We are also seeking to establish new liaision activities with the European Cancer Organisation (ECCO) through our President Elect.

• Recruiting and retaining young doctors is an overarching goal for the WONCA Europe region. Our Young Doctors’ Movement, the Vasco da Gama Movement, is growing in numbers and activities, and is increasingly integrated in the activities of the other networks.

• The European Journal of General Practice (EJGP) is of great importance to our region. The journal became ‘Open Access’ in 2017 and is now free of charge globally. We are delighted to report that the impact factor has been maintained after the transition, as have the quality and number of submissions: there have been more than 90,000 full-text article downloads last year with about 60% of all papers cited at least once. The high number of downloads and the extensive use of the journal proves that the investment made by WONCA Europe in transforming the journal into an Open Access one, have been of importance for the global family medicine community.

Finally, this year also marked the first time the new Scholarship Programme was implemented. The purpose the WONCA Europe Scholarship is to scout and foster future international leaders in family medicine, encourage networking, and enable learning about our discipline’s models and the institutions in health care, by providing mentorship and financial support. Dr Ana Luisa Neve, from Portugal, is the first to receive the scholarship.