The Patient Access Partnership (PACT) welcomes the recent joint Commission/OECD report entitled ‘Health at a Glance: Europe 2016’, which is part of the Commission’s current efforts to build a solid knowledge base as a resource for Member States in addressing challenges to their health systems. The report recognises that resources spent on ensuring better health outcomes should be seen as an investment – both with respect to the quality of life of patients as well as to society as a whole.

The report clearly highlights the current gaps in access to healthcare within and between member states and analyses the causes of unmet needs.

The MEP Interest Group on Access to Healthcare in cooperation with PACT actively contributed to raising awareness for the ‘Health at a Glance’ report by organising a meeting at the European Parliament on 28 November. Jointly chaired by MEPs Karin Kadenbach, Andrey Kovatchev, Lieve Wierinck and PACT Secretary General Stanimir Hasardzhiev, the event provided an opportunity for all interested stakeholders to be informed of and discuss the report’s content as well as its wider context, i.e. the ‘State of Health in the EU’. This is a recurring two-year series of analytical products on country-specific and cross-country knowledge in the field of health.

Speaking at the event, DG SANTE’s Martin Seychell welcomed the strengthened partnership with the OECD and underlined the objective of the current knowledge building activities around the ‘State of Health in the EU’ initiative, not least the intention to ensure the input of all stakeholders in the development of country-specific profiles, planned for next year. He highlighted the need to move from ‘cost-driven’ to ‘outcome patient-centered driven’ health systems, and indicated that this process could be supported by standardised outcome measurement tools. These should not only focus on clinical outcomes, but also capture patients’ views as to the benefits of treatments.

OECD’s Gaetan Lafortune emphasised that Member States need to invest more in the prevention of chronic conditions by tackling risk factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption and obesity. He also advocated the need for more patient-centred health systems, and stressed that the evidence-base that is currently being put together can make a useful contribution to facilitating choices and sound health policy development. Gaetan Lafortune underlined the need for a stronger focus on prevention and primary care in order to reduce unmet needs, strengthen patient-centered care for chronic diseases outside the hospital and to reduce financial and geographical barriers in access to healthcare. The challenge remains to achieve greater efficiency of health spending while meeting growing demands with limited resources.

PACT General Secretary Stanimir Hasardzhiev underlined the useful contribution that PACT could make to ensuring that the country profiles are developed in partnership with patients, so that these profiles reflect the reality. The perspectives of all health stakeholders are indispensable to ensuring a complete picture of a health system’s effectiveness, resilience and accessibility – and this is why PACT works to provide a platform for dialogue, both at EU as well as at national level. PACT therefore welcomes efforts to systematically integrate these perspectives into the cycle.

Andrey Kovatchev MEP welcomed the Commission’s initiative and underlined the Interest Group’s intention to provide continued support for any EU level initiative that will add value to healthcare across the EU.

A report from the meeting is available here

Notes:

• The PACT Regional Conference video and report can be found here.