Friday, 30th October 2020  
The second wave is here!
After the major threat of the first COVID-19 surge, the second wave is now overwhelming Europe. During the spring, our healthcare systems were deeply shaken by the danger of high risk but limited clusters. Some regions were severely affected, others less and some not at all. However now nearly all Member States are facing the same challenges to contain the spread of the infection and reduce fatalities. All hospitals, private and public, are concerned. UEHP is engaged in the coordination of actions and in the sharing of relevant information. However, the biggest challenge today is certainly the workforce. Healthcare providers showed and continue to show their resilience and their professional dedication to overcome this difficult time, but they are exhausted, and it is difficult to maintain nurses and caregiver teams motivated. Health service provision has been reduced in some regions to increase bed capacity and the provision of services for COVID-19 patients, but the pressure is on and we must be fully aware of the consequences. Hospitals must be supported by all means available to maintain the provision of care and the admission of critically ill patients. Our social model is being challenged. We are on the front lines of the health care response to this great threat concerning the European population. We are at work!
Dr Paul Garassus
President of UEHP
UEHP Virtual Council Meeting – 2 October 2020
Last 2nd October, UEHP held its second Virtual Council meeting in its history. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UEHP Board decided to organise another virtual Council meeting for the safety of all members.
The meeting was dedicated mostly to the presentation of the COVID-19 and post COVID-19 situation in each member country and how each UEHP member has dealt with the pandemic, what were the major difficulties, what kind of support hospitals had from their governments, how is the situation now and if the activity is starting back again and to which extent:
The situation in Austria is quite dire. In some countries, restrictions have been put in place for travellers to Austria.
The infection rate is in average above 700 new cases daily and this number is not expected to be diminishing in the upcoming weeks.
Every hospital has been asked by the government to reserve beds. The Government has established 6 levels and for each level there is a certain number of beds which must be set aside for Covid patients. The question is that they must be set aside without knowing if they will be used. During the first wave, in the spring, 50% of beds were retained by the government but since they were not used, it resulted in no income.
The private sector still hopes that the government will pay a part of the loss. Negotiations are ongoing.
In France, private hospitals were mobilised during the health crisis and beneficiated from the support of public authorities. After the main crisis which took place in the spring, the French government significantly raised the salaries of health professionals, both in the public and private sector. It is not always the case but this time equality between sectors prevailed.
Today France sees signs of the pandemic´s second wave but the situation is different. In Spring, there was a massive deprogramming of all non-urgent procedures and a general confinement was enforced. Now, authorities are much more focused on finding targeted solutions adapted to the reality of the territories. It might turn out to be even more difficult because equality must be established and solutions must be constructed with a large spectrum of actors of all sectors, agencies, etc.
The first approach has caused delays in care. Now the challenge is to coordinate care both for Covid and Non-Covid patients.
The situation is also difficult for health professionals and FHP is asking that they are seen as a priority as far as testing is concerned.
Above all, what is crucial now is that cooperation between the public and the private sector is maintained. In the Paris region, during the pandemic, 26% of all ICU beds were private.
A survey which was carried out last May showed that citizens praised the public/private cooperation and hopes it is maintained.
FHP tries to maintain good relations with all health authorities but today interactions with territories are even more important.
Germany is facing an increase in new cases, with about 2000 daily, with some areas being more severely affected than others, which is the case of Munich.
Despite this increase, the general population seems to be still very relaxed. People do not wear masks and are still socializing. So new set of rules are being put in place to reduce the number of new cases.
The arrival of winter will only worsen the situation. The country is getting ready for it and there is the belief that with the capacity currently available Germany will be able to cope. Another lockdown is not to be expected but we never know.
During the first wave, in the spring, a legal framework was put in place so that hospitals would be compensated. It has worked so far but problems are now arising. The framework does not work how it was supposed to but these issues apply to all hospitals, public and private. There is a feeling of being in it together.
There is a need for more discussion on how to cope with the pandemic´s second wave.
In many hospitals, activity is pretty much back to normal, but hospitals are getting prepared for a new lockdown and to accept Covid patients.
It is crucial to understand that the healthcare system only works if people are cooperating. Private hospitals are prepared for cooperation. It will only be possible to cope with a second wave with collaboration.
In Greece, during the first phase of the pandemic, there were relatively few cases and deaths due to the total Lockdown. Today, at the beginning of October, we have an increase in daily cases and in hospitalized patients in Intensive Care Units. Dozens of cases have now appeared in nursing homes which did not happen in the spring.
The daily number of new cases is more than 400 in a population of 10 million inhabitants.
The majority of cases occur in the region of Athens. In other areas it is significantly less.
Schools are operating normally with some of them closing due to Covid 19 cases. The government has allowed teleworking while the forecasts for the end of October and winter are of more than 700 cases per day. With this number the health system will be tested as it will work within its limits.
Considering, the overall situation is not dire. There is a concern though regarding refugees’ areas and the low number of ICU beds in Greece, especially in public hospitals. Therefore, on September 25, the Government required, by law, that the beds of all Private Hospitals in the country be made available for the transfer of non-Covid patients from State Hospitals to Private in order to decongest the system, to better deal with a larger crisis. There is collaboration between the public and the private sector which has made more than 150 ICU beds available to the public system.
In Hungary, the philosophy is to open the whole economy and universities and try to return to a normal life.
During the first phase of the pandemic hospital beds were put aside for Covid patients but it was not necessary.
The number of new cases is increasing with an average of 850 new cases and 10 deaths daily. The numbers show that the situation might worsen.
In Italy, now after the end of the first phase of the pandemic which froze outpatient activity, activity is back to normal.
Contagion in certain regions is going up. In their effort to control the situation, the regional council of these regions decided to adopt strict measures comparable to those adopted in phase one.
Italy is trying to contain this new spread and the Council of Ministers decided at the beginning of September to postpone the end of the emergency status to 15 October and they are now considering postponing it again to the end of January 2021.
Overall, there was a good cooperation between the public and the private sector. Covid Hospitals were put in place at the time, but they are now closed because hospitals are now more experienced and prepared. Unfortunately, most of patients still fear to go to Hospitals.
During the recent AIOP General Assembly, the Italian Minister for Health who had been invited to take part in the assembly, announced that the next State budget will include a big funding of the national health system and it will also involve the private sector. It is a big opportunity for the private sector to have a say on the distribution of resources.
The National Council ratified the new work agreement of health professionals (which in Italy excludes nurses and doctors). It puts private workers at the same level as public workers in public hospitals.
Monaco being on the Côte d´Azur is very close to France and the authorities have put into place specific measures with a strong collaboration between the public and the private sector.
Patient care continues as normal while dealing with Covid patients.
In Poland, a country of 38 million inhabitants, the number of coronavirus cases exceeds 100 000 and over 2000 new cases are reported daily. More than 2600 people have died since the start of the pandemic while more than 73,000 people have been cured.
Patients are treated in public hospitals, in a hospital network specially created for this purpose. This network is flexible, and its capacity has so far been sufficient to care for patients.
Recently, an entire network of primary care physicians has been included in the early diagnosis of COVID -19.
Private hospitals are outside the primary care network. However, they work hard, conducting diagnostics and treatment in areas consistent with their profiles. As the entire healthcare system operates at a very slow speed, there is a clear pressure on private hospitals to increase the number of patients admitted under contracts with the National Health Fund but also paid by insurers and patients.
It should be noted that patients do not accept telemedicine as the first diagnostic channel and expect direct contact with a specialist. The negative consequences of such an approach seem to be noticeable in oncology, where the diagnosed number of cases is lower by about 30% than in a comparable period before the pandemic.
There is currently also a lack of PPE, a lack of staff - Doctors were working in public and private hospitals but it is no longer possible since they have now to choose between public or private and there is consequently no personnel - a lack of finance liquidity, income is quite reduced and the financial situation is alarming. The Covid situation also increased medical costs but the National Health Fund did nothing about it.
The private hospital sector in Poland is facing a very difficult situation.
Portugal is now facing a second wave with about 800 new cases and 8 deaths daily. Schools have reopened and authorities expect more cases in the near future.
Portugal is very concerned about the autumn/winter season and the prevalence of Covid-19 and other seasonal common respiratory viruses but unfortunately the strategic plan put forward by the Health Ministry to deal with the issue does not contemplate the participation of the private hospital sector. It is merely a public plan.
As a sector, private hospitals are doing what they have to, hospitals were reorganized and after June, people started to come back to private hospitals. In August, activity reached the same level as the previous year in term of surgeries and outpatient consultations.
A campaign was launched to raise awareness on the safety of hospitals and explain that patients should not postpone their treatment and their care.
There is no dialogue with the Private sector from health authorities. They only want to rent operating rooms, but it is not the private hospital sector´s mission.
Even when public hospitals send patients to have their surgery carried out in private hospitals, they refuse to pay the extra cost for tests and necessary Covid equipment.
In Portugal, the government is preparing its Recovery Plan which will be officially present to the Commission on the 15th of October. In terms of healthcare perspective, once again the government only looked at the public side: there was no dialogue or idea on how to cooperate. It is a pity because the economic strength of the healthcare sector could be a strong pillar for economic recovery.
The Ministry of Health has reported 11 016 new infections and 177 deaths from Covid-19 coronavirus this Wednesday. 43% of the infections diagnosed between Tuesday and Wednesday correspond to Madrid, with 4,810 new positive cases.
This new balance indicates that there are 10 855 Covid-19 patients admitted to Spanish hospitals, of which 1 539 are in Intensive Care Units. The average bed occupancy of hospital reaches a 9.28%, and a 17,93% regarding ICU.
Restrictive measures are currently in force in Spain, affecting 184 municipalities.
However, due to the increase of new cases in recent days, especially in the Community of Madrid, the Spanish Government has tried to establish homogeneous criteria regarding restrictions on mobility, concentration of people and capacity, in localities with a cumulative incidence of more than 500 cases of Covid-19 per 100.000 inhabitants in the last 14 days.
In this context, despite having been approved by a majority, there have been five autonomous communities (Madrid, Galicia, Catalonia, Murcia and Andalusia), together with the autonomous city of Ceuta, that have voted against this plan in the plenary session of the Inter-Territorial Council of the National Health System held this Wednesday.
Therefore, in the middle of the political conflict between the Central Government and the Community of Madrid, the Order of the Ministry of Health, signed by Minister Salvador Illa, has finally been published in the Official State Gazette (BOE). It includes measures of mandatory compliance regarding mobility restrictions, among others, in Madrid and in other 10 municipalities with a 48-hour implementation period.
The president of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, has assured that she will follow these restrictions, but that she will go to court to defend the interests of citizens.
Regarding the situation of private health system in this second wave of coronavirus, it should be noted here that there is still little pressure from Covid patients. At the moment, in those territories where there is a higher incidence of cases, it is the public health system, which is taking care of the Covid patients, without reaching a stressing situation (except in certain areas of Madrid).
However, in some territories, patients are being referred from the public health system to the private one, such as in Madrid, Catalonia, Andalusia and Murcia.
On the other hand, it should also be noted that there is an overall problem of shortage of health professionals, especially nurses.
To conclude, it should be emphasized that the Covid activity of the first wave of coronavirus and the compensation for the private resources availability still remains unpaid. Nevertheless, in Autonomous Communities such as Madrid, Murcia, Aragon and La Rioja there are open negotiations in process.
The peak of the COVID-19 pandemic was reached on April 4th in terms of number of fatalities and they had practically gone down to 0 by May and all the way through the end of August. There was a total of 2’000 deaths which translates to 239 per million population.
Unfortunately, cases of infections have been increasing steadily since end of July and some regions Switzerland were recently placed in the risk category. The proportion of positive tests is around 3.7%.
However, the severity and death toll is significantly lower and hospital capacity is not expected to be in danger.
During the 6-week peak period in mid-March to end of April hospitals and clinics were requisitioned and suffered substantial financial losses, some Cantons, like Geneva, compensated hospitals and clinics for the losses during the peak period.
However, the compensations have been negotiated at the Cantonal level and not the federal level.
Generally speaking, the role of the private clinics during the pandemic has been recognized and greatly appreciated; this has strengthened the bonds between the public and private sector.
This went as far as giving the 2020 innovation award of the Geneva chamber of commerce jointly to the public hospital and the private hospital association of Geneva for their cooperation during the pandemic.
This report was completed on October 2 during the Council meeting and the situation has since evolved quite drastically in most countries.
After this important and useful detailed update from all UEHP members, we discussed only top priority topics, including the activity report and future actions by the President and Secretary General, the new UEHP projects for the years to come and the financial situation of the association.
We thank all UEHP members for their active participation to our virtual Council meeting and we look forward to the next Elective General Assembly in February 2021.
UEHP webinar on EU funding 2021 - 2027 for hospitals
Last 28th September, UEHP organised the first webinar on EU funding 2021 - 2027 for hospitals, in close partnership with the consultancy agency WelcomeEurope.
The webinar, led by Lorraine de Bouchony, CEO of WelcomeEurope, was the opportunity to understand more of what is it in for healthcare in the broad landscape of EU funding programmes.
After an introduction on the main takeaways from President von der Leyen's State of the Union Address, such as the EU4Health programme, a reinforced European Medicines Agency (EMA), a strengthened European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and European BARDA – agency for biomedical advanced research and development, the presentation went on the main EU funding schemes with an in-dept view of:
  • Structural funds,
  • Programmes managed by the European Commission,
  • Next Generation EU – EU Recovery plan.
Finally, Mrs de Bouchony gave some tips and recommendations to all participants in order to succeed when applying for EU funds. The webinar was also a platform for the participants to ask questions and look for additional information and references.
Are we spending smart in healthcare? speaker briefing
Last 15 October, our Secretary General, Ms Giannico, was invited to represent UEHP at the online event “Are we spending smart in healthcare?”, organised by EFPIA, the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations.
Faced with an unprecedented health security crisis on top of the challenges of an ageing population and increasing burden of chronic diseases, our health systems need to both strengthen their resilience to future shocks and meet increased demand for healthcare, while staying sustainable over time. Whilst we need to keep investing in our health systems, there are also opportunities to make healthcare spending more efficient in order to improve long-term outcomes within the available budget.
According to the OECD, 20% of healthcare expenditure is spent inefficiently, making no meaningful contribution to outcomes. Smart healthcare spending will allow us to improve health outcomes while not increasing overall costs, or even create savings in the long-term that can be reinvested for better health.
The event was the opportunity for the official launch of the EFPIA white Paper “Strengthening health systems through smart spending” (mettre lien à la pièce jointe). The paper presents a number of policy recommendations for national and European policy-makers, with the aim of informing a discussion on how smart spending can improve health systems’ resilience, responsiveness and readiness.
UEHP was member of the Advisory group of stakeholders chosen by EFPIA as contributor to the white paper.
You can find at this link the event recording.
View the report
Cybersecurity - Krankenhaus-Krimi (Crime in a Hospital)
An article by Dr Paul Garassus, President of UEHP
What we all feared has now happened. Engaged in hospital cybersecurity, we (UEHP) have for years believed that a computer attack could endanger the lives of patients. We shared these fears in our working meetings with DG CONNECT and ENISA in Brussels explaining that ransomware or malware would eventually become killerware.
This unfortunately happened at the University Clinic in Düsseldorf on September 10 with a ransomware attack causing the entire computer network to crash. The consequence was the impossibility to provide care in a critical situation which required the transfer of an emergency patient, the latter having since died. The investigation is ongoing, but the hospital continues its care mandate with pencils and paper, as their twitter messaging tells us. Many had already voiced this danger, Josep Borrell for Europe or even NATO in June. Cybersecurity was also our key topic at the last session of the European Forum in Gastein in 2019. We annually convene a European workshop on Hospital Risk Management where this critical subject is always debated. The vulnerability of our information systems is the Achilles tendon of our modern society, whether in our daily lives as computer users or as citizens faced with the dangers associated with fake news. The cybercrimes committed by the instigators of these attacks have now directly affected human life in a healthcare structure. We know the solution is complex and that States are working on it. We again call on Europe and its Agencies to ensure that the security that we so value as caregivers is respected in the best interests of us all. We now know and deplore this rampant criminality, a nuisance force of individuals or of organized groups, even in some cases of states themselves. The solution is international. Only the commitment of all can reduce this risk, especially in its most heinous form when it comes to attacking people in vulnerable situations. Lives depend on it, we must act and indeed, beyond debates and discussions, find practical solutions to counter these malicious acts and identify those responsible. The hospital of the future must remain a safe place.
European Commission Work Programme 2021
I am writing to inform you that today, the European Commission adopted its 2021 work programme, designed to make Europe healthier, fairer and more prosperous, while accelerating its long-term transformation into a greener economy, fit for the digital age. It contains new legislative initiatives across all six headline ambitions of President von der Leyen's Political Guidelines and follows her first State of the Union Speech. While delivering on the priorities set out in this work programme, the Commission will continue to put all its efforts into managing the crisis, and into making Europe's economies and societies more resilient.
Delivering on EU priorities
  1. A European Green Deal : To achieve a climate-neutral Europe by 2050, the Commission will table a Fit for 55 package to reduce emissions by at least 55% by 2030. This will cover wide-ranging policy areas – from renewables to energy efficiency first, energy performance of buildings, as well as land use, energy taxation, effort sharing and emissions trading. A Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism will help reduce the risk of carbon leakage and ensure a level-playing field by encouraging EU partners to raise their climate ambition. In addition, the Commission will propose measures to implement Europe's circular economy action plan, the EU biodiversity strategy and the farm to fork strategy.
  2. A Europe fit for the digital age : To make this Europe's digital decade, the Commission will put forward a roadmap of clearly defined 2030 digital targets, related to connectivity, skills and digital public services. The focus will be on the right to privacy and connectivity, freedom of speech, free flow of data and cybersecurity. The Commission will legislate in areas covering safety, liability, fundamental rights and data aspects of artificial intelligence. In the same spirit, it will propose a European e-ID. Initiatives will also include an update of the new industrial strategy for Europe, to take into account the impacts of the coronavirus, as well as a legislative proposal to improve the working conditions of platform workers.
  3. An economy that works for people : To ensure that the health and economic crisis does not turn into a social crisis, the Commission will put forward an ambitious action plan to implement fully the European Pillar of Social Rights, making sure that no one is left behind in Europe's recovery. The Commission will also come forward with a new European child guarantee, ensuring access to basic services like health and education for all children. To support our economies and strengthen the Economic and Monetary Union, it will revise the framework for handling EU bank failures, take measures to boost cross-border investment in the EU, and step up the fight against money laundering.
  4. A stronger Europe in the world : The Commission will ensure that Europe plays its vital role in this fragile world, including by leading the global response to secure a safe and accessible vaccine for all. It will propose a Joint Communication on strengthening the EU's contribution to a rules‑based multilateralism, a renewed partnership with our Southern neighbourhood and a Communication on the Arctic. A new strategic approach to support disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of ex-combatants will also be presented. A Communication on the EU's humanitarian aid will explore new ways of working with our partners and other donors.
  5. Promoting our European way of life : In the face of COVID-19, the Commission will propose to build a stronger European Health Union, notably by strengthening the role of existing agencies and establishing a new agency for biomedical advanced research and development. To preserve and improve its functioning, a new strategy for the future of Schengen will be tabled. The new pact on migration and asylum will be followed up with a number of proposed measures on legal migration, including a ‘talent and skills' package. Other elements include an action plan against migrant smuggling, as well as a sustainable voluntary return and reintegration strategy. The Commission will continue to strengthen the Security Union, addressing terrorism, organised crime and hybrid threats. It will also present a comprehensive strategy on combating antisemitism.
  6. A new push for European democracy : To build a union of equality, the Commission will present new strategies on rights of the child and for persons with disabilities, as well as a proposal to combat gender-based violence. It will also propose to extend the list of euro-crimes to include all forms of hate crime and hate speech. The Commission will propose clearer rules on the financing of European political parties and take action to protect journalists and civil society against abusive litigation. A long-term vision for rural areas will propose actions to harness the full potential of these regions.
A full list of the 44 new policy objectives under the six headline ambitions are set out in Annex 1 of the 2021 work programme. 
Next Steps : The Commission's 2021 work programme is the result of close cooperation with the European Parliament, Member States and the EU consultative bodies. The Commission will now start discussions with the Parliament and Council to establish a list of joint priorities on which co-legislators agree to take swift action.
Background : Every year, the Commission adopts a work programme setting out the list of actions it will take in the coming twelve months. The work programme informs the public and the co-legislators of our political commitments to present new initiatives, withdraw pending proposals and review existing EU legislation. It does not cover the ongoing work of the Commission to implement its role as Guardian of the Treaties and enforce existing legislation or the regular initiatives that the Commission adopts every year. The 2021 Commission work programme is closely linked to the recovery plan for Europe, with the NextGenerationEU recovery instrument and a reinforced EU budget for 2021-2027. The Recovery and Resilience Facility will channel an unprecedented €672.5 billion of grants and loans in the crucial first year of recovery. Meanwhile, Member States are drawing up recovery and resilience plans that set out reforms and investments aligned with the EU green and digital policy objectives: with a minimum 37% of green transition expenditure, and a minimum 20% related to digital. To repay the funds raised under NextGenerationEU, the Commission will put forward proposals for new own resources starting with a revised Emission Trading System, a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism and a digital levy.
More information here.
EU Health Coalition
2nd EU Health Summit - Lessons learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic
Last 26 October, the EU Health Coalition held its second EU Health Summit online.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us the importance of cooperation between all sectors and actors to ensure our healthcare systems can function to their best ability in saving human lives.
In 2018, 33 organisations came together under the umbrella of the EU Health Coalition. They jointly developed 20 recommendations for a healthier Europe to promote a shared vision of health in Europe.
This year, it is time for action. For the second edition of the EU Health Summit, all participants will develop implementing actions for policymakers and stakeholders to translate the 2018 recommendations into concrete policy change and improve Europeans’ health and health systems’ sustainability.
After the introductory remarks from the chairs of the Coalition, the participants had the chance to listen to high level speakers as Jens Spahn, Minister of Health in Germany, and Stella Kyriakides, EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety. 
Then the attendees split into four breakout sessions running in parallel: 
  1. Policies for health | Moderated by Nick Batey, EUREGHA Chair
  2. Digital health and health data | Moderated by Nicole Denjoy, COCIR Secretary General
  3. Healthcare systems | Moderated by Jacqueline Bowman-Busato, EASO EU Policy Lead
  4. Research and innovation | Moderated by Wilfried Ellmeier, BioMed Alliance President
After the breakout sessions, the participants came together again in plenary to listen to other high level speakers, as Marius Gabriel, EU Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, and Andrea Ammon, Director General at ECDC. 
The event was attended by more than 300 participants from the beginning until the end of the final plenary session, a very good results for an online meeting. It was the opportunity to learn more about how to build a stronger Europe in COVID-19 times and beyond.
More on the Summit: here
The EU Health Coalition was created following the first-ever EU Health Summit, in November 2018. The Coalition promotes a shared vision of health in Europe, based on jointly developed recommendations. The purpose is to ensure that health remains high on the political agenda and to champion the changes required to address the unprecedented challenges that an ageing population and an increasing prevalence of chronic diseases pose to healthcare systems and citizens.
The EU Health Coalition is composed of patient organisations, EU research-oriented medical societies, industry organisations, healthcare providers, regional and local health authorities and other relevant stakeholders, who all share a common vision. To find out more about the work of the EU Health Coalition, please visit our website here.
EU4Health: 9.4 billion EUR budget needed for new EU health programme
Press release 14.10.2020
  • EU must invest more in strengthening healthcare systems
  • Support for digitalisation of healthcare through European eHealth Record
  • Health inequalities must be reduced
To fill gaps exposed by COVID-19 and ensure that health systems can face future threats to public health, an ambitious EU health programme is needed, say MEPs.
On Wednesday, the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety adopted its report on the programme for the EU's action in the health sector, the so-called “EU4Health Programme” with 74 votes to 5 and 1 abstention.
MEPs want to raise the budget for the programme to EUR 9.4 billion, as originally proposed by the Commission, to enhance health promotion and make health systems more resilient across the EU. COVID-19 has shown that the EU is in urgent need of an ambitious EU health programme to ensure that European health systems can face future health threats. This is not possible if the budget is reduced to EUR 1.7 billion as proposed by member states.
To reach the programme's objectives, the report proposes, inter alia, to:
  • focus more on disease prevention
  • reduce health inequalities
  • digitalise healthcare through the creation and application of the European eHealth Record
  • address resistance to vaccination in the EU
  • strengthen the European Union’s fight against cancer in synergy with the Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan
  • prevent and manage chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes
  • take more specific actions to address medicine shortages and make better use of antimicrobials, such as antibiotics
  • promote health by addressing health risks — such as the harmful use of alcohol and tobacco.
To ensure it is implemented effectively, MEPs propose to set up a Steering Group consisting of independent experts in the field of public health.
MEPs also want to increase cooperation at EU level to improve readiness in case of a health crisis. They call for the mandates of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to be strengthened.
After the vote, Parliament’s rapporteur Cristian-Silviu Buşoi (EPP, Romania) said: “The COVID-19 crisis has exposed the need for well-defined and adequately-financed health instruments as well as for boosting innovation and investing more in health in general. It will be crucial to increase funding for the EU4Health Programme to €9.4 billion, as proposed by the Commission in May, in order to have the capacity to deal with future pandemics and health threats, and to make our health systems more resilient.”
Next steps
Parliament is expected to vote on this report at the latest during the 11-12 November plenary session, after which Parliament is ready to start negotiations with member states so that the programme can be implemented from the beginning of 2021.
On 28 May 2020, the Commission put forward a new stand-alone EU4Health Programme for 2021-2027 as part of the Recovery Plan to build resilient health systems in the EU by tackling cross-border health threats, making medicines available and affordable, and strengthening health systems. The Health Programme was previously under the initial EU long-term budget 2021-2027 as one element of the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+).
Further information
Europe's climate ambition
The European Parliament supports the objective of a 60% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030! France is launching a national consultation to finalise the 4th edition of its National Health and Environment Plan, which includes sustainable development objectives to be achieved by healthcare institutions.
For its part, the NHS in Great Britain has already reduced its carbon emissions by 26% in 2020 compared to the 1990 baseline. It has now set itself two new targets: the carbon footprint for emissions that the NHS directly controls will be net zero by 2040, with ambition to reach an 80% reduction from 2028-2032; the carbon footprint 'Plus' (scope 2-3), of emissions that they can influence, will be net zero by 2045, with ambition to reach an 80% reduction from 2036-2039.
Campaign – "Do not Wait. Protect your Life"
The Portuguese Strategic National Health Council of CIP – The Business Confederation of Portugal - launched the digital campaign: "Do not Wait. Protect your Life"
Portugal has, since March, been united in the fight against Covid-19. In a first phase, in a planned and systematic manner, the country interrupted patient care in order to guarantee its response to Covid-19 patients and to preserve the capability of the Portuguese National Health Service (SNS).
Since then, the full provision of care has stopped. We are witnessing an unprecedented distortion of the essence of Care, with clear negative consequences:
  1. Exclusion of people from the Health System.
  2. Unilateral postponement of consultations, medical procedures and tests without rescheduling.
  3. Critical patients deprived of care for fear of going to Hospitals and other health centres.
  4. Progression of the disease due to possible late diagnosis and treatment.
  5. Chronic patients in decompensation.
  6. Increase in the number of preventable mortality cases.
  7. Dehumanization of Care as a result of the disincentive to the presence of care partners and of visitor restrictions during hospitalization.
The health needs of people with illness are not being met and it is urgent to return to normality in health and to meet all the patients’ needs, Covid and “non-Covid” patients, so that nobody is left behind.
The side effects of covid-19 in care are overwhelming. We can count, from January to July 2020 compared to the same period in 2019:
  • 7 million fewer primary care visits
  • 2.1 million fewer hospital visits
  • 99 000 fewer surgeries
  • 990 000 fewer visits to the emergency service
  • 17 million fewer tests
  • 26 000 fewer mammography exams
  • 30 000 fewer cervical cancer screening tests
  • 26 000 fewer colorectal cancer screening tests
For this reason, the Strategic National Health Council of CIP - The Business Confederation of Portugal -of which APHP is a member, launched the digital campaign "Do not Wait. Protect your Life" - www.naoespere.pt - which alerts the population to the importance of always seeking advice and help from health professionals in case of illness.
The campaign calls for society to be co-responsible and reminds citizens that it is important to continue to keep appointments and scheduled exams, it is essential to ensure the continuity of ongoing treatments and comply with good public health practices, respecting social distancing and following protective hygiene measures.
The Campaign also welcomes the participation of civil society, calling upon citizens to share their testimony through the project platform and the hashtag # naoespere (do not wait). The initiative also recommends that citizens remain informed and exercise their rights, because "health cannot wait"!
Report 2020 on the place of the private healthcare sector in Spain
The IDIS Foundation (Institute for the Development and Integration of Health) released the tenth edition of the report "Private Healthcare, Contributing Value. Situation Analysis 2020", realized in cooperation with the Alliance of Spanish Private Healthcare (ASPE).
The report updates historical data sets and shows that the private sector in Spain performs 30.5% of surgeries, records 23.5% of discharges and handles 24.5% of emergencies. To date, the private healthcare sector in Spain represents 57% of hospitals (458) and 32% of existing hospitals beds (51,212) and employs 269,515 professionals.
The constant evolution of the sector means that 8.7 million people have complementary private insurance, which means a saving of at least 564 euros per insured person per year for the public system (overall a minimum saving of 4,949 million euros).
Likewise, state-of-the-art technology is a key aspect for the private health sector; it is in possession of 53% of MRI equipment, 49% of PET and 36% of CT scans, as the document points out.
5 February 2021
UEHP General Assembly