European health systems must adapt to austerity, conference hears

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 09 October 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f6073
  1. Tessa Richards
  1. 1BMJ

Europe is facing prolonged austerity and its health systems must adopt new ways of working and funding care, participants agreed at this year’s European Health Forum Gastein (

Leaner, more inclusive, better evidence based, and transparent health governance is also essential and decision makers must be held accountable for how their health systems perform.

Speakers agreed that given the strong economic case for investing in health, health ministers should make it more forcibly and lead cross sector action to tackle the determinants of health.

In particular, innovation was needed in the delivery and integration of services. Business as usual will not work, and new ways to support patients, especially those with long term conditions, to self manage disease must be evaluated and implemented, participants agreed.

Amid widespread cuts to services in many countries, the importance of strong primary care, of avoiding unnecessary hospital care, and of providing equitable access to services was underlined. …

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