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EPF strives to make equitable access and universal health coverage a reality

While universal health coverage is a well-recognised goal for all healthcare systems in the EU, this basic right is not yet a reality for all patients. As a follow up to our 2017 Campaign on Access to Healthcare and to the Roadmap to achieving universal health coverage for all in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in 2018, EPF focused its efforts on building awareness and capacity of patient communities on these topics. The goal was to provide meaningful input to policy discussions in this area. To this end, we developed a factsheet on universal health coverage and the UN SDG on health in September to mark the 3rd anniversary of the adoption of the UN SDGs. Throughout the year, EPF seized many opportunities to also repeatedly urge different health actors to take responsibility in implementing the recommendations set out in EPF’s Roadmap on UHC. EPF’s work on this topic has been guided by a new member-based working group on universal access to healthcare, and we would like to take this opportunity to thank all members for their valuable contributions.

To further support Member States in the implementation of health reforms, in 2017, EPF recommended that the European Commission link existing funding mechanisms to the country-specific recommendations (CSRs) issued in the context of the European Semester, which allocate existing funding to support the implementation of health-related CSRs. We were pleased to see that the post-2020 European Social Fund plus programme has adopted this approach. In May of this year, health recommendations were attributed to 12 EU countries. EPF welcomed the clear shift towards more social and less financial-oriented recommendations, which is a significant step forward and achievement for EPF as well as other civil society actors. In the context of improving equal access and ensuring the sustainability of health care systems, this year, EPF also contributed to efforts being made to improve the measurement of access to healthcare across Europe. To this end, a framework towards a fairer and more effective measurement of access to healthcare across the EU, based on EPF’s five dimensions of access, as well as a strategy and roadmap, will be published and proposed to the Commission and Member States in the coming weeks.

As a member of SDG Watch Europe, EPF has urged the EU to take leadership in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In 2019, the EU will be reporting for the first time on how it is implementing the agenda for sustainable development and what progress has been made. Similarly, next year will also be an opportunity for EPF and other civil society actors to call for an improved and more robust monitoring and reporting process.

For more information, please contact Katie Gallagher, katie.gallagher@eu-patient.eu.