Report from the EU Summit on Chronic Diseases

On 3-4 April 2014 EPF participated to the Chronic Disease Summit organised by the European Commission’s DG SANCO at the initiative of Tonio Borg, Commissioner for health (pictured). The event aimed at developing a set of policy recommendations for action on how the medical, social and economic burden of chronic diseases should be tackled in the European Union now and in the years to come.

On 3 April participants were divided into workshops and flagged some key recommendations about:

  • Filling the gap in terms of data on the chronic disease burden and health inequalities.
  • Working towards a care that is more goal-oriented – to ensure better quality of life for the patients and that they can stay functional as much as possible.
  • Supporting patient empowerment and participation in their care.
  • Making integration of care a priority, including focusing more on and reorganising primary care, and ensuring care is more tailored for chronic disease care as opposed to acute care.

On 4 April Health Commissioner Borg opened the meeting describing the actions of the Commission to reduce the burden of chronic diseases, including the joint action on chronic disease in which EPF is a partner, CHRODIS JA (link). He stated that he believes “health should pervade all portfolios” and is not only a matter for health ministers.

Link to CHRODIS JA’s press release on EU-member states collaboration to address the common challenge of chronic diseases.

Health ministers from Greece, Italy, Ireland, and representatives from the health ministries of Spain and Belgium all gave example on their strategies to tackle chronic diseases. The video of these interventions is available here.

“Today healthcare is oriented towards bureaucratic outcome instead of health outcome. To change this, patients need to be involved with true responsibilities. There is proven added value to patient involvement, and we have many example of good practices in this area”, said EPF Board Member Stanimir Hasurdjiev during the panel on EU added value to preventing the expansion of chronic diseases.

Mr Borg closed the meeting, announcing the launch of the Commission communication on effective, accessible and resilient healthcare systems. He advocated for strong political leadership, a greater involvement of patients and citizens in shaping policies, and strengthening the evidence base.

He declared “I support the call for new approaches to investing in health, moving beyond cutting expenditure, to addressing demand for health and social services” calling for “a broad coalition across sectors to address the challenges of chronic diseases”. His full closing speech is available here.

For more information, please contact EPF Policy Officer Laurène Souchet at