The European Association of Primary Care Partners (EAPCP) is the latest organisation to join a coalition of European organisations petitioning European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker to do ‘more for health’ in Europe.
The European Public Health Alliance (EPHA), the European Patients’ Forum (EPF) and a coalition of organisations have teamed up to express their concerns in a letter to President Juncker, who earlier this year presented a White Paper on the Future of Europe, outlining five different scenarios.
In these scenarios, the option to ‘do less’ on some policy areas was contemplated, which could lead to less EU action on health after 2020.
The organisations have informed President Juncker that they believe health is “absolutely and unequivocally” a core business of the EU. “Protection of a high level of human health and wellbeing is entrenched in the Treaties of the European Union. EU collaboration in the field of health is indispensable for the future of Europe and rebuilding the trust of citizens in the European Union. We need more health to unlock the full potential of economic and social policies.”
With 70% of Europeans wanting the EU to do more for health, according to the most recent Eurobarometer survey, it is essential that this is not only maintained, but actually enhanced, the letter goes on to state. “The EU needs to continue deliver results that make a tangible difference in the daily lives of its citizens and thus re-establish people’s trust in its institutions.”
The letter – originally sent in early June by Archie Turnbull, President of the European Public Health Alliance, and Marco Greco, President of the European Patients Forum – states that national governments are expecting, and calling for, European Commission support in the form of a chronic disease strategy. “The majority of Member States want more EU action for health, especially disease prevention and support to increase the safety, quality and efficiency of care, to aid their own efforts to make their health systems more sustainable.”
And while national governments remained responsible for their health systems, European health systems faced common challenges – a necessary shift from disease-focused, hospital-centred care to person-centred, long-term chronic disease management where patients, families and communities played a key role.
The groups have called for an enhanced EU action in the field of health that brings the EU closer to its citizens, by protecting patients and consumers and improving people’s health. “We call for a EU action on health that fosters cross-country collaboration, integrates the action of Member States and helps them to address the unprecedented challenges we are facing.
“We call for EU action on health supported by a robust EU Health Programme and the leadership of a dedicated Directorate in the European Commission,” the letter goes on to stress.