Health actors write to Barroso proposing stronger health dimension2014 will be a year of change for the EU, with upcoming European parliamentary elections, to be held in may 2014, the appointment of the new Commission and the new President of the European Council. At the same time, a new Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020 goes into effect and this runs in parallel with the mid-term review of the Europe 2020 strategy.
The European Patients Forum (EPF) together with the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) expressed our views on the Europe 2020 Strategy in an open letter, raising the following issues:
- With regard to the poverty target, the fight against health inequalities, the increased rates of poverty for people living with disabilities or chronic conditions, as well as the accessibility and affordability of healthcare should be included.
- The education target should incorporate health literacy, quality and inclusive education and the promotion of gender equality, early life development support, and continuous professional development for health workers.
- The target for 3% of GDP invested in research and development should also be used to address unmet public health needs in research, and for the creation of safe and effective, affordable and accessible health technologies including vaccines, diagnostics, and drugs. This would contribute to the right to health for all.
- The employment target should also address the challenges faced by people living with chronic illnesses, mental health problems and disabilities in obtaining and retaining employment. The employment target could be used to address the shortages of health professionals with a comprehensive, sustainable approach including planning and forecasting, recruitment and retention, skill mix and creating attractive working conditions. Ethical recruitment must be fostered, and the WHO Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel must be implemented.
- The employment target should also address absenteeism and precariousness of work. Absenteeism is a result of many dimensions, which could be minor or chronic illness, depression and stress, caring for a sick or older relative, workplace bullying and bereavement, or alcohol related harm. Quality employment is vital for health and therefore, fair employment and good working conditions for all are critical.
The review itself will take place in 2015, but the preparation prior to this, started with the publication of an EC Communication at the end of February 2014. The Communication will be on the agenda of the next Spring Council and it is hoped that afterwards a Roadmap will be launched for a further consultation process until the end of this year.
This consultation will then also be used to prepare the decisions of the Spring Council in 2015 on the Mid-term Review. The health community will be ready to play an active role in this debate.
For more information, please read the full letter in the right-hand column or contact EPF Director Nicola Bedlington at email@example.com.