2023 edition of the State of Health in the EU’s Synthesis Report

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The Country Health Profiles are accompanied by a Synthesis Report presented by the European Commission, which highlights a selection of horizontal observations based on the analysis of the country profiles.

The 2023 edition of the State of Health in the EU’s Synthesis Report consists of two parts.

Part 1 presents a chapter on European health systems’ reforms and investments after the COVID-19 pandemic. The analysis is focused on 3 main takeaways:

  • Mental health reforms addressing de-stigmatisation, prevention, treatment and reintegration are needed. The EU has developed a new approach to support Member States and stakeholders, by effectively addressing mental health challenges in a comprehensive, multi-sectoral and prevention-oriented manner. Breaking stigma and discrimination surrounding mental health and stepping up investment in mental healthcare and health systems reforms, including the mental health workforce, will be key.
  • Closing health gaps by tackling health inequalities across and within countries requires a multi-sectoral approach. Health inequalities in the Union have risen after the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic led to a widening gap in life expectancy at birth between 2019 and 2021 across Member States. However, life expectancy estimates from 2022 show a narrowing gap, which is a positive trend but should be closely monitored going forward. At the same time, unmet healthcare needs are also increasing. Instruments to address health inequalities and the related socio-economic and environmental determinants and behavioural factors, (such as the risks associated with unhealthy diets, physical inactivity, environmental pollution, tobacco and alcohol consumption) range from investment in health literacy to integrated care, health promotion and legislation.
  • Investments towards resilient and accessible health systems need continuity, underpinned by robust data collection mechanisms. Investments in public health, disease prevention and health systems should remain a key priority in the longer term. The COVID-19 pandemic revealed the fragility of health systems. Managing the pandemic required immediate efforts and large investments to provide enough workforce and facilities to treat COVID-19 patients. Investments in surveillance and tracking and tracing systems were also made. After the pandemic, it is imperative that health systems can cope with future crises.

Part 2 of the Synthesis Report presents the key findings from the 29 Country Health Profiles prepared by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies (Observatory).

More details can be found here.

State of Health in the EU: Synthesis Report 2023 (pdf)


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