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EU Health Strategy

Health expenditure in the EU amounts for around 10% of GDP and nearly 15% of public spending. The health and social sector workforce amounts for 10% of all jobs in the EU, with up to 8 million job openings projected by 2020. Read the EU Health Infographic for more information.

The EU’s Health Strategy is called Together for Health. It is an important component of the Europe 2020 Strategy and is based on the premise that a successful and efficient health strategy is a prerequisite for economic prosperity. Without a healthy workforce, the prospects for a healthy economy are severely compromised.

The EU has identified three important components upon which its health strategy is based:

  • Spending smarter, but not necessarily more in sustainable health systems;
  • Investing in people’s health, particularly through health promotion programmes;
  • Investing in health coverage as a way of reducing inequalities and social exclusion.

Investing in Health is a 2013 communication document published by the European Commission as part of the Social Improvement Package. It describes how health contributes to the Europe 2020 objective of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. It advocates evaluation and modernisation of current social policies to optimise effectiveness and efficiency in health systems.

The document calls for better targeted, individualised and integrated services and links health system reform to more cost-effective and sustainable systems.

Key factors driving the need for health system transformation are:

  • The recent economic crisis in Europe
  • The expanding ageing population
  • An increase in chronic diseases and disability
  • A greater demand for healthcare
  • The high costs of technological progress.

The health of nations directly links to its economic prosperity. A healthy population creates increased productivity, an increased labour supply, an increase in human capital and a reduction in public spending. Health is seen as the cornerstone of the European social market economy.

The current evidence suggests that there is considerable scope for making efficiency gains in the healthcare sector.

The EU Health Strategy strengthens co-operation and coordination across EU member states and complements national health care policies in line with the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU.

The ECU advocates this call for health system transformation and the inclusion of chiropractic in the delivery of cost-effective health systems in the field of musculoskeletal health in general and spinal healthcare in particular.