The spotlight is very much on chronic diseases, both at EU level and globally. Tackling chronic diseases is seen as a key requirement for the sustainability of European health systems. This will inevitably involve greater investment in prevention and health promotion, but also changes to the way healthcare is delivered.
The Commission launched a reflection process on chronic diseases in early November 2011. It followed a request by the Council in its Conclusions on “Innovative approaches for chronic diseases in public health and healthcare systems”, adopted on 7 December 2010. The reflection process aims to produce an EU strategy on chronic diseases, focusing on the sustainability of health systems.
Chronic disease strategies and reflection on healthcare systems sustainability is a crucial area where patients can and must contribute. Patients’ perspective on chronic diseases is unique: patients live with their disease, learn to manage it, and to navigate the health system to get the right care. In addition, chronic diseases impact many areas of patients’ lives, including the workplace, family and social interactions.
This is why we believe patients play a key role in identifying service needs and ensuring that strategies to address chronic disease are effective in fostering high quality and sustainability of healthcare, and improved quality of life.
EPF contributed to the Commission's reflection process through the European Health Policy Forum (EUHPF) and released a response on the specific perspective of patients that is available in the right-hand column.