EUHA Presidency: Interview with Herwig Wetzlinger

DATE November 23rd, 2022

Herwig Wetzlinger, CEO of the University Hospital Vienna and the serving president of EUHA, talks about the prospects and challenges facing EUHA and summarises his term as president, which will end at the upcoming Members’ Assembly on the 28th of November in Vienna. After the Members’ Assembly, the EUHA Presidency will hand over to King’s Health Partners.

As Vienna’s presidency comes to an end, Herwig Wetzlinger has shared in an interview his concluding remarks on the presidential period and EUHA’s challenges and opportunities for the upcoming months. In this interview, he emphasises EUHA’s potential membership expansion, the trustful connection between EUHA members, the importance of delivering and sharing tangible results, and the urgency of addressing healthcare workforce shortages at a European level.

Read the detailed interview below.

Interview with serving EUHA President Herwig Wetzlinger

EUHA Presidency: What was the special focus of your presidency?

A special focus has been the membership expansion. After a detailed analysis, EUHA decided to add new members at the last Members’ Assembly in Leuven, June 2022.

Surprisingly some aspects of communicating with potential candidates turned out to be very different from the expectations, and we learned a lot for further rounds of expansion. As a result, we now have a strong basis for discussion with two excellent candidates who are highly motivated to participate in EUHA and would bring quite some added value to EUHA.

This means that a well-founded decision can be made at the forthcoming Members‘ Assembly in Vienna about the admission of two promising and thoroughly examined candidates.

EUHA Membership Expansion: Why is it an important project, and what are the expected benefits and risks?

We need to broaden our base if we want to be a relevant European institution. The membership expansion will also test whether we are mature enough and have defined our organisational processes well enough to integrate new members. The biggest challenge is that EUHA has developed several special and valuable characteristics that we should preserve: We need to preserve our special capabilities for organising projects amongst our already well-connected staff and – which is very important to me – continue our very trustful relationship with each other.

Challenges & Opportunities: What are the biggest challenges and opportunities for EUHA in the upcoming months?

We need to focus on delivering tangible results. On the one hand, EUHA has to push forward and support the existing projects to deliver the expected results in a realistic timeframe, e.g., the EUCCAT project or the staff exchanges. On the other hand, we need to document precisely the outcomes of best practice exchanges like the COVID rounds, the Rare Disease Transition blueprint or the workforce shortage analyses so that the results are available for everybody and not only for those attending the meetings

All these mentioned projects have only become possible in and through EUHA, which makes our responsibility to deliver results greater.

EUHA Members’ Assembly: What are you looking forward to about the EUHA Members‘ Assembly in Vienna?

I am very excited to see what the group working on the workforce shortages will present. It is an urgent matter where EUHA offers a great opportunity to learn about various approaches.

On a personal level, I’m looking forward to meeting a group of like-minded people, some of whom I know well after this long time.