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Europe´s health shows inequalities

by awitherick on 26 March, 2011

Some of the big things the European Union do sadly go unreported in the UK, even though they could have some really positive impacts for patients in the UK.  Some of the report adopted by the European Parliament underlines the importance of fundamental social objectives through equal opportunities, access and solidarity.

Action to reduce health inequalities means tackling those factors which impact unequally on the health of the population in a way which is avoidable and can be dealt with through public policy. Health inequalities are not simply a matter of chance but are strongly influenced by the actions of communities, governments, stakeholders and individuals. The overall health picture has improved in European countries in recent decades but large gaps persist regarding differences in life expectancy, increased health risks, poverty and social exclusion.

ALDE (our Liberal Democrat partners in Europe) spokesperson on health issues MEP Antonyia Parvanova (NMSP Bulgaria), said : “Significant differences in life expectancy, inequality in access to safe and high quality care, discrepancies in exposure to health risks, etc… the list of health inequalities within our Union is too long and is unfortunately being worsened by the impact of the economic crisis. We need to work further – at European, national and local level – to address the numerous and unacceptable differences we are observing today, and to tackle the causes of these inequalities, whether we speak about health prevention, treatment or services.”
“We have recently adopted the Directive on Patients’ Rights in cross-border healthcare, but seeking a treatment abroad and having to travel for health should always be the last option. While maintaining the sustainability of national health systems, the reduction of health inequalities within our Union has to be a top priority at EU level, in order to raise standards of care and the overall health status for all European citizens”
, Antonyia Parvanova concluded.

The report focuses on important challenges like holding policy dialogues on equity and key fundamental values in health, launching initiatives in collaboration with Member States to improving access and appropriateness of health services, preventing care for migrants and other vulnerable groups, providing further support to existing mechanisms for policy coordination between Members States as set out in the EU Health Strategy.

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