Head of the Food Safety, Health and Consumer Affairs section of the Delegation of
European Union (EU) in Washington
Bernard Merkel is British. He is the Head of the Food Safety, Health and Consumer Affairs section of the Delegation of the European Union (EU) in Washington. His previous post was Head of the Health Strategy and Health Systems Unit in the Health and Consumers Directorate General of the European Commission.
In this position he led the work to produce the EU's first overall health strategy, "Together for Health", which was published in 2007, as well as developing a series of policy initiatives in relation to healthcare in the EU. These included a directive on patient rights in cross-border healthcare, currently under discussion by the EU Member States, as well as policy proposals for improving patient safety, the quality of healthcare, strengthening the European health workforce, and improving the effectiveness of health investment.
Before joining the Commission he worked in the UK Department of Health and Social Security, on health policy issues, such as AIDS, child health and reform of the National Health Service, as well as social security programmes on poverty and disability. He was also for a time private secretary to the Health and Social Security Secretary. He has been a Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics (LSE Health) and is an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the London School of Hygiene. He is a member of the Editorial Board of Eurohealth and author of a number of articles on health policy. His training is mainly in the social sciences, where he has a doctorate in political theory.