EU Health programme 2014-2020

Background information

The EU White Paper: Together for Health: A strategic approach for the EU 2008-2013, is the first attempt to have a coherent long-term strategy for health in the European Union. Based on shared values, the strategy promotes several fundamental principles: health as the greatest wealth, health in all policies, and strengthening the EU voice in global health. The Financial instruments for the implementation of the Strategy are the Second Programme of Community Action in the field of Health (2008-2013) and other EU programmes, including the Seventh Research Framework Programme.

The European Commission’s proposal for a health programme 2014-2020, titled “Health for Growth”, was published on 9 November 2011. The main focus of the proposal is to support Member States in adopting innovative solutions in health and prevention that will contribute to the sustainability of health systems, and in implementing EU health legislations. Health objectives are linked explicitly to the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy.

EPF's Position

EPF has been closely involved in implementing and evaluating the Health Programme, including participation in several projects co-funded under the programme.

EPF has also taken an active role in advocating for patients’ priorities in the context of the health for growth proposal, both independently and jointly with other health sector NGOs. The future EU health programme will provide a framework for the annual work plans of the Commission and the actions prioritised in the field of health. It will therefore have a direct or indirect impact on patient communities across the EU.

EPF proposed a number of amendments to the Commission’s proposal, focusing primarily on health inequalities, patient empowerment and health literacy. “We believe a strong recognition of the fundamental European values of solidarity and equity is particularly important in the current financial climate. The concept of “European added value” should include the potential for achieving key social objectives, such as the reduction of health inequalities as well as patients’ and citizens’ empowerment”, said Kaisa Immonen-Charalambous, EPF Senior Policy Adviser. 

Patients’ empowerment in particular is a crucial strategy for creating future health systems that are responsive to the needs of citizens and to deliver high-quality and equitable care in a sustainable way. Improved health literacy is a key empowerment tool and may have substantial impact on reducing healthcare costs. But empowerment also needs to be tackled from a systems perspective, through implementing principles of patient-centred healthcare and facilitating patients’ and their representative organisations to be involved at all levels of healthcare policy-making.

To read EPF policy statement on the health strategy and EPHA/EPF joint statement, please consult the related document section to your right.