EU collaboration in health for better access

EU collaboration in health for better access

Posted on February 20, 2019

Today, various stakeholders, current MEPs, EU institutions’ representatives, EU member states’ representatives, experts from different DGs’ of the European Commission and Parliamentary Committees met to discuss the EU cooperation in favour of more accessible health systems across the EU. The event, organised in the European Parliament by the MEP Interest Group on Access to Healthcare, in collaboration with PACT, of which EFN is a partner, offered the opportunity to showcase the achievements of the Interest Group, and the efforts and key messages of health stakeholders to the MEPs ahead of the upcoming elections, including how EU cooperation in healthcare can help improve access and reduce health inequalities.

The economic crisis has significantly impacted health and social care sector with serious consequences on access to health and social care for the EU citizens and patients, despite the growing numbers of people living with co-morbidities and needing complex care interventions. To face the current challenges of the health and social care systems (e.g. access to healthcare, shortage of the healthcare workforce, raising of chronic diseases) a whole system and mindset change at the policy, practice and education levels is needed with a shift from intervention to prevention. Nurses, the largest group of the healthcare professions, plays a significant role in this. Therefore, MEPs should commit to support and empower frontline nurses to deliver safe and effective care.

Evidence shows that “investing in an appropriate nursing workforce pays off, as it reduces mortality and increases quality of care” (Linda Aiken et al, 2017). Furthermore, Universal health coverage cannot possibly be achieved without strengthening nursing globally. Increasing the number of nurses,  making sure their contribution is properly understood and enabling them to work to their full potential is therefore key. Thus, for the EFN, it is vital that MEPs deliver on nurses’ shortage and address it by advanced education programmes and retention strategies, and by ensuring that the nursing evidence is translated into a political reality within Member States and across the EU in the term 2019-2025. Any strategies need to consider how to retain experienced nurses and how to make nursing an attractive and rewarding choice for future generations seeking careers which improve people’s lives and are valued by society. Invest in nursing to save lives!