The European Commission adopted on 6 July a Decision to set up an independent expert panel to come up with a new system of investing in health and making healthcare systems sustainable.
Ageing societies, costly innovation, and rising patients' expectations put pressure on the financial sustainability of European health systems and the welfare state. With the fiscal constraints spawned by the financial crisis and the consequent austerity plans, a number of European countries started contemplating on health system reforms to ensure a sustainable provision of high quality care to their citizens.
The management of healthcare services is the competence of the EU member states, but a stronger and more coordinated cooperation at European level could only benefit all actors in the process. Sharing experiences and information about best practices combined with the work of the Commission's expert panel should yield better results than independent endeavours could.
The EU panel should consist of 17 experts, appointed by the Commission, from several areas of expertise, such as primary care, hospital care, pharmaceuticals, research and development, prevention and health promotion, system financing, information systems, and patient registers and health inequalities.