Ministers exchange views on patient empowerment
By Sophie Petitjean | Tuesday 24 April 2012
Innovation as a means of coping with the financial crisis and demographic challenges, while simultaneously safeguarding the quality of health care systems in Europe: such was the theme of the informal meeting of the member states’ health ministers, on 23-24 April in Horsens, Denmark. They discussed the issues of patient empowerment and fighting inequalities in the field of health. The ministers also agreed to use the Health Security Committee (an informal cooperation and coordination body, which focuses on health threats linked to terrorist acts, pandemic flu, etc) as a platform for crisis management in the field of medical devices. The Health Security Committee will from now on be used if there is a need for quick and resolute response from the health ministers to critical matters.
After a visit to the regional hospital in Horsens, the ministers recalled the importance of innovation in facing the current health challenges.
As proposed by the Danish Presidency of the EU, the ministers discussed in detail ways to give people with chronic disease the possibility to stay active and independent by playing an active role in managing their own disease. Most member states showed an interest in this idea for a wealth and breadth of reasons (facilitating geographical access to health care, reducing expenditure, facing the shortage of health care professionals, etc).
As a conclusion to the meeting, Danish Minister for Health Astrid Krag said: “I am very glad to see common understanding among my colleagues that patient empowerment is not a question of leaving patients alone. Nor that it is an exercise in cutting expenditures. It is about getting the best quality of treatments for the resources we have”.