PES health ministers prioritise top quality healthcare for all

12/03/2018

Ossinovski at health meeting

Jevgeni Ossinovski, chair of the PES health ministers' network

Providing the highest standards of public health for all Europeans is a priority, agreed health ministers from the PES political family.

The ministers signed a declaration entitled For a progressive health agenda today, laying out their priorities for joint action.

The declaration recalls that timely access to affordable, preventive and curative healthcare of good quality is fundamental in Europe’s quest to obtain the highest level of social protection.

As outlined by the Standard Eurobarometer 87 of Spring 2017 one in five Europeans consider health as their most important concern. The ministers agree with this priority shared by citizens, and firmly believe that progressive health policies can deliver tangible results to all Europeans.

They also agreed on the need to fight jointly against health inequalities, notably through the promotion of adequate nutrition for children at risk of poverty, the tackling of risk factors such as alcohol and ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive rights.

The declaration calls for improved access to affordable and timely healthcare for patients, as well as to protect and reinforce public services to deliver the highest quality care and curative treatments for those in need.

Finally, the ministers made it clear that public health objectives should be part of policies across all sectors, so as to ensure a healthier environment for the citizens and contribute to the wellbeing of our societies.

The main policy proposals contained in the declaration are:

  • Prioritising the reduction of social inequalities in health
  • Protecting public health services so they can deliver highest-quality services at an affordable cost to all citizens
  • Improving patients' access to high quality medicines at socially acceptable prices everywhere in the EU
  • Ending communicable diseases (HIV-AIDS, hepatitis, tuberculosis)
  • Tackling at EU level the main risk factors behind preventable diseases, such as smoking, alcohol consumption, poor quality diet

Jevgeni Ossinovski, chair of the PES health ministers network, said:

"A high level of health protection is essential to the wellbeing of every society. This means that our citizens must have timely access to preventive and curative health services -- and crucially that these must be universally available at socially affordable prices.

"Most health and medical services are the competence of individual countries and not the EU. We recognise this, but we also see many opportunities for voluntary cooperation supported by the EU. There are also areas where acting jointly at a European level is vital for us to achieve our goals, such as in cross-border trade and advertising.

"The broad priorities we lay out in our declaration today are the backbone of our progressive health agenda. They need to be reflected in all our social policies, not only those directly addressing health issues. We must act together to bring about a positive change for our societies."

Read the full text of the declaration here.

Signatories to the declaration are:

  • Minister of Health and Labour Jevgeni Ossinovski, Chair of the PES Health Ministerial, Estonia
  • Minister of Health Adalberto Campos Fernandes, Portugal
  • Minister of Health and for Equal Opportunities Lydia Mutsch, Luxembourg
  • Minister of Health and Social Affairs Annika Strandhäll, Sweden