European parliament gets ambitious about health

BMJ 1996; 312 doi: (Published 27 April 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:1060

It's a frustrating business trying to compare like with like when studying the prevalence of disease in different European Union countries—but help may now be at hand. The European Parliament is showing a growing enthusiasm for health issues, and plans for a five year programme to establish a union-wide health monitoring system based on agreed indicators has won the MEPs' approval earlier this month.

The system is designed to provide policymakers with the data necessary to analyse trends in the health status of Europe's citizens. It aims to remedy the inadequacy, in both volume and quality, of existing information and to ensure comparable definitions—as one Euro-MP puts it, “to ensure that the concept of a hospital bed is the same whether …

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