Effective, accessible and resilient health systems

EESC opinion: Effective, accessible and resilient health systems

Key points

  • The EESC calls on the Commission and the Member States to work together as fast as possible on the strategic guidelines the communication proposes, coordinating their efforts.
  • In the interests of the greatest well-being of the EU citizens, the Member State health systems must remain firmly rooted in principles and values such as universality, accessibility, equity and solidarity. Without these fundamental principles we cannot create a social dimension for Europe, and they must therefore be safeguarded and protected in all EU policies connected with citizens' health.
  • We firmly believe that the economic crisis cannot be resolved with measures that ultimately reduce the European citizens' rights to health protection. Despite healthcare costs and prices, health is not a commodity, and it must not, therefore, depend on people's purchasing power.
  • Increasing the effectiveness of health systems means ensuring the value of resources, linking the concept of scientific and technical quality with that of efficiency and sustainability as the basic vision of health organisation and professional practice, while still fully respecting the patient.
  • The EESC considers it unacceptable that, in the early 21st century, we still have to admit that we lack comparable data. We call on the Commission and the Member States to press ahead with the adoption of a set of reliable indicators that will enable measures to be studied and adopted at EU level.
  • The EESC considers the fight against health inequalities to be a priority. The differences between social, economic and political environments are decisive factors in the distribution of illnesses. Member States must therefore commit to ensuring that healthcare is delivered in an equitable way.
  • High-quality technical and scientific training is indispensable if we are to have highly-trained professionals who can successfully meet the healthcare needs of the EU public.
  • We believe that promoting primary care as a fundamental component of the healthcare provided by health systems can help improve the health results of these systems and reduce costs, thus making them more financially sustainable.
  • The EESC considers that efforts to contain pharmaceutical costs and the costs of high technologies are needed, as these are elements which have a decisive impact on the sustainability of health systems.