Fifteen organisations, representing public health NGOs, patient groups, health professionals and disease groups, today a statement calling for better greater political leadership from the European Commission to ensure: “A Europe where all people are as healthy as they can be throughout their lives is possible. A Europe that promotes well-being for all people of all ages, and where people can live, work and age in sustainable and healthy environments. A Europe that supports timely access to affordable, high quality healthcare for all.”
The signatories are requesting a Commission Vice-President and a Directorate General dedicated to health, to ensure that health protection and promotion is guaranteed across all European Commission portfolios. Their main six requests are:
- Establish strong leadership on health to ensure healthy lives in healthy environments. The EU has a responsibility to the global health agenda and a leadership role to play. Both the EU and all Member States have committed to implement the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
- Adopt EU-level legislation to prevent diseases the EU should add value and a European dimension to the Member States efforts on disease prevention to protect public health and to reduce the burden on European healthcare systems. Every additional average year of life expectancy is worth a boost to GDP of up to 4%.
- Develop a framework for tackling non-communicable diseases the EU should support the fight against NCDs, the obesity epidemic, and mental disorders, and address the challenges related to an aging population. The high and increasing prevalence of chronic, non-communicable – and largely preventable – conditions, along with demographic changes, put the sustainability of our healthcare systems at risk.
- Support national health systems with expertise and evidence. The EU should play a key role in monitoring and benchmarking of health systems in Member States. Bacteria and drug resistance cannot be stopped by borders. The impact of widespread AMR, if we fail to act, is unimaginable. Health is a positive economic driver in itself, raising productivity, labour market participation, wellbeing, happiness and social cohesion.
- Empower citizens and patients We need a framework to advance on the strategic issue of citizen and patient empowerment in a coherent, meaningful way. A population fully engaged in preserving and promoting health will contribute to improving health outcomes and increasing well-being of people in the EU and increased productivity.
- Assess the impact on health of EU policies. All actions and policies must ensure a high level of human health protection. Population health is a precondition for economic prosperity. In line with the treaty, the EU has a duty ensure that all policies and programmes make a positive contribution and do not harm public health or undermine health goals and commitments.