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The next European political term is crucial towards supporting Member States to invest in health and understand the potential of the sector to create new jobs and growth for Europe. Investment towards reducing health inequalities contributes to social cohesion and breaks the vicious spiral of poor health contributing to, and resulting from, poverty and exclusion.
As Health First Europe continues its long-standing work in this area, we believe that the policy priorities for the EU institutions should focus on for delivering patient-centred, high quality care to all EU citizens in the forthcoming years.
Health systems must be adapted to effectively address current healthcare needs which means developing community care (integrated health and social care at primary level), identifying and distributing good practice across the EU, fostering efficacy of treatments on a broad scale and facilitating health professional training and long term planning for the health workforce to deliver care more efficiently.
Health systems must prioritise innovations that support health promotion and prevention, early diagnosis and monitoring of disease to foster access to community care and ensure efficacy for both care and treatment. This must include mechanisms for equitable patient access to health information, carers and health technologies to facilitate patient free choice for how and where they receive care.
Improving patients’ health literacy, patient access to high quality information and supporting patients to share in health decision-making is imperative to implementing truly patient-centred care in European health systems. Patients must be involved in policy development, but also in bridging the gap between European legislation, and the average EU citizen, to achieve policy success.
From patient safety, to health literacy and diagnosis, innovation (in its broadest sense) can support better quality of care by empowering patients. Greater research into the value of innovation in health must be better supported at EU level to demonstrate the need for long-term investment in innovation to national payers.
What the EU can do: Prioritise research on the value of innovation and harmonised data collection via EU funding programmes
Based on: Patients’ Rights in Cross-border Healthcare (2009); European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing (2011); Horizon 2020 (2014)