05 July 2016
- Inequalities, - Healthcare

With 18 million patients declaring unmet needs on healthcare access (3.6% of the EU population), the European Commission Expert Panel on Effective Ways of Investing in Health, an independent commission, has published a report on how to ensure access to healthcare.

The paper sustains that equitable access to high-quality health services to everyone is an exercise of “matching”, of delivering solutions that are as close as possible to what patients’ need in a relevant, appropriate and cost-effective way.

Health systems are complex, and access can rely on different ways of structuring care, like disease breakdown, or public policy beyond the health system, especially the fiscal policy. For example, the report evaluates what are the ‘unmet needs’ of patients. The results used are evidence of people who were not able to obtain the health services they needed – at any level of the health system – because they face barriers to access due to cost (too expensive), distance (too far to travel) or waiting time.

We welcome the report recommendations to collect new data for effective, accessible, resilient and accountable health systems. According to the Commission, this can be done through better monitoring to identify the size of access problems and more policy analysis to enable a deeper understanding of the causes of access problems.

It is also greatly positive that the Expert Panel identifies good patient-provider communication to better access to care, a higher level of patient satisfaction, better compliance and better care outcomes. At EFA we work with healthcare professionals and organisations to improve patient-centered outcomes, not only through investment but also through approaches that embrace patients’ needs such as more medical training, patient-friendly communications and a multidisciplinary approach to healthcare.

The full report can be found in the European Commission website.

To know more about our work on health inequalities, please visit our dedicated section.

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