Commission proposes new EU Health Programme

Last November, the European Commission published its proposal for a regulation on establishing a Health for Growth Programme, the third multi-annual programme of EU action in the field of health for the period 2014-2020. Healthcare is one of the largest sectors in the EU, employing 1 in 10 European workers. The recent financial crisis has obliged Member States to reconsider how best they can improve its sustainability whilst maintaining high standards. The Commission’s proposed regulation therefore aims to encourage strong growth through the provision of better healthcare. It emphasises improving cooperation between Member States, encouraging reform of national health policies, promoting innovation and supporting cross-border exchange of best practice. The Health for Growth Programme hopes that through a combination of these measures, the general health of EU citizens and EU patient care will be improved, and the quality and sustainability of the EU healthcare system will be enhanced. While EFA agrees that health is important for growth, health should never be seen just serving growth! It’s a value on its own and this comes up in all Eurobarometer surveys.
The draft regulation focuses on four specific objectives: the development of tools and mechanisms to deal with resource shortages and facilitate innovation; increasing EU citizens’ access to medical expertise and better and safer healthcare, across borders if necessary; the promotion and exchange of best practice in disease prevention measures; and the development of better cross-border preparedness and coordination to protect citizens from cross-border health threats.
The budget allocation for the programme is set at 446 million EUR, and will take the form of grants, public procurement or any other necessary interventions. The EFA office has compiled a briefing on the programme available from the EFA Office, and will be paying close attention to its implications for our disease areas. For more information contact roberta.savli@efanet.org.

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