“It is unacceptable that every year in the EU we are losing more than 1.2 million people
prematurely when this could be avoided through better disease prevention
and more effective health care interventions“, Vytenis Andriukaitis,
Commissioner for Health and Food Safety.
The OECD, together with the European Commission, launched its publication “Health at a Glance: Europe 2018”. The report provides a set of key indicators of health status , risk factors to health, health expenditure, access to care and quality of care, together with a discussion of progress in improving the effectiveness, accessibility and resilience of European health systems, in 36 European countries (28 EU Member States, 5 candidate countries and 3 EFTA countries), and calls for improving mental health and preventing mental illness that not only have social consequences but are also estimated to cost more than 4% of GDP across the EU. It also calls for addressing risk factors like smoking, alcohol and obesity, reducing premature mortality, ensuring universal access to care and strengthening the resilience of health systems. Nurses can play a key role in this, due to their great contribution to improving patients’ health and well-being, not only in hospitals, in long-term care institutions, but also in primary care and in home-care settings.
As regards nursing, the report highlights that there are concerns in many countries about possible future shortages of nurses, given that the demand for nurses is expected to rise in a context of population ageing and the retirement of the current “baby-boom” generation of nurses. These concerns have prompted actions in many countries to increase the training of new nurses, while some countries have addressed current shortages by recruiting nurses from other countries. Furthermore, in many countries a growing number of nurses’ work in primary care. In response to shortages of general practitioners, some countries have introduced or extended advanced roles for nurses to improve access to primary care.
“Health at a Glance: Europe 2018” marks the launch of the second cycle of the Commission’s State of Health in the EU initiative. The next step in this State of Health in the EU cycle of knowledge brokering is the publication of Country Health Profiles for all EU countries, which will be published in 2019 jointly with the OECD and the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies. They will highlight the particular characteristics of and challenges for each Member State, and will be presented alongside a Companion Report in which the Commission draws cross-cutting conclusions.