NO-FEAR Delft workshop: the importance of standardisation

Meeting room in Delft

NO-FEAR Delft workshop: the importance of standardisation

The NO-FEAR consortium met in the Dutch city of Delft in November 2022, as partners approached the final six months of their project to improve emergency medical care across Europe by combining the expertise of practitioners, suppliers, and authorities. After its last progress meeting, the consortium opened its doors for a public workshop on the pivotal importance of standardisation. You can view this workshop on the NO-FEAR YouTube channel.

The workshop was hosted by the Royal Netherlands Standardisation Institute(NEN) at their Delft premises in the Netherlands, with attendees from across industry, academia, and policy. In disaster medicine, clear and evidence-based standardisation is vital to ensuring effectiveness and innovation as new players enter the market. Despite this, medical practitioners frequently express their frustrations with standards. The workshop aimed to break down some of these barriers.

The workshop involved presentations and discussions led by varied partners and guests. Following some introductory background on standardisation from Lennart de Waart and Okke-Jaap Prent of the NEN, Henk Vanhoutte from the European Safety Federation took to the stage. Henk focused on the example of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), outlining the processes and need for stakeholder input across the PPE standardisation scene. In a remote presentation, Marco Pisani from Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca Metrologica (INRIM) in Italy then elaborated on the case study of COVID-19 facemasks and the oversights involved in their regulation during the pandemic. With variations in international standards, and desperate consumers, there are lessons to learn from these deficiencies.

Isabelle Meslier-Renaud from the Europol Innovation Lab was next, discussing the innovation and processes engaged with by Europol in the law enforcement sphere and the importance of rigorous standards. From there, Patricia Compard (of the French Ministry of Interior and CEN/TC 391) and Lukas Moravec (convenor of CEN/TC 391) brought the discussion back to NO-FEAR. They highlighted key areas of project contribution in the standards field, including the Better Practice Guide and engagement with networks such as CEN/TC 391 WG 1 Healthcare Facilities (which is working to elaborate a body of European standards) . Nicola Entwistle from Safeguard Medical focused on the big picture as well, outlining the EU’s first update to its Medical Device Regulation (MDR) in 27 years. The implications of these new monitoring and performance requirements are significant for stakeholders in medical fields.

In the seventh session, Patricia Compard returned to provide a few more details on the Better Practice Guide, on behalf of Tom Flynn from TFC Research and Innovation Limited. Professor William Hynes of KPMG Future Analytics delivered the second last presentation, raising awareness of the PEERS initiative. This programme will organise a vast database of standards, guides, and processes, with significant impact for the production and processes of Disaster Risk Management standards. The workshop concluded with a panel discussion, led by Stephen M. Purcell from KPMG Future Analytics, and featuring diverse speakers. These comprised Jonathan Hall (Resilience Advisors Network and CMINE), David Crouch (3M), Isabelle Meslier-Renaud (Europol), Patricia Compard (French Ministry of Interior and CEN/TC 391), and Stephanie Jansen (NEN). This was a wide-ranging discussion, touching on transparency, practitioner involvement, and the future of the standardisation field.

Throughout, the audience was engaged and discussion was positive and fruitful, with stereotypes of standards as irrelevant or obstructive persuasively challenged. Bringing stakeholders from industry, research, policy, and practice together, as NO-FEAR has done, is invaluable. Continuing this dialogue will allow emerging standards to drive innovation and improve outcomes.

NO-FEAR is a five-year project that brings together a network of emergency medical care practitioners, suppliers, decision and policymakers to collaborate and exchange knowledge, good practices, and lessons learned in disaster and crisis management. Our networks work together to develop a common understanding and to enhance the response to security-related incidents. The NO-FEAR project seeks to harness the rich experience of our members and leverage our network to improve the exchange of good practices and information in Europe and beyond. To join one of the NO-FEAR networks and become part of our community, sign up to our portal:

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