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COMMITTEE ON ANTIMICROBIAL RESISTANCE
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is the resistance of bacteria and other microbes to previously effective drugs, resulting mainly from the misuse and overuse of antimicrobial drugs. Drug resistance is threatening the ability to treat common infections1. Each year, antibiotic-resistant infections lead to 25,000 deaths in the European Union2 and 700,000 deaths worldwide3. If resistance is left unchecked, the death toll is predicted to rise to 10 million people per year by 2050 ...
Global antibiotic consumption grew by 30% between 2000 and 2010 and in the EU, overall antibiotic consumption in the community and in hospitals increased between 2010 and 2014. In China and India, antibiotic pollution in rivers and waterways is leading to the proliferation of resistant bacteria, both locally and also worldwide through travel and trade.
COMMITTEE ON CLIMATE CHANGE AND HEALTH
Excessive human consumption of meat, in particular red and processed meat, is associated with major environmental and health impacts. In the past decade, evidence has shown that livestock industries in Europe and around the globe produce more greenhouse gas emissions than all transport devices combined. This puts significant pressure on public health and national healthcare systems, as well as representing a growing threat to planetary health. The Committee on Climate Change and Healthcare believes urgent action is required to counter this challenge, and has elaborated four recommendations. Central to the committee's proposal is to trigger dietary change, which means overcoming the awareness gap among the population and leading EU bodies. Other items include reviewing meat industry advertising and related legislation, and consideration of financial support for better regulation of the meat industry. This paper will elaborate on tackling meat production and consumption by providing evidence-based recommendations aimed to attain innovative change in healthcare by 2030 in the European Union.
COMMITTEE ON DIGITAL SKILLS FOR HEALTH PROFESSIONALS
Digital technology, including mHealth and eHealth, is an inevitable part of the future of European healthcare. But are health professionals prepared? The Digital Skills for Health Professionals Committee of the European Health Parliament surveyed over 200 health professionals about their experience with digital health solutions, and a large majority reported to have received no training, or insufficient training, in digital health technology.
To equip health professionals for the digital health future, our committee recommends that greater emphasis is placed on the needs and abilities of the end-users, the health professionals. This should be done through better incentives and improved training:
- Widening digital literacy in healthcare depends on sufficient demand for digital healthcare. This can be achieved through reimbursement schemes that encourage the use of digital solutions in healthcare.
- Continuous education of health professionals in the knowledge, use and application of digital health technology should be central to the European agenda for digitizing healthcare. We recommend that the European Union and Member States take the following actions:
- Establish mandatory tailored training programs on digital skills for health professionals from early education to professional development programs.
- Launch a joint action on digital skills for health professionals to agree among the Commission and Member States on the key issues and determine a common approach.
- Update clinical guidelines to include mHealth and eHealth solutions that enable healthcare professionals to deliver mHealth and eHealth solutions to their patients.
- Make healthcare professionals co-developers of mHealth and eHealth solutions.
We consider digital literacy among health professionals paramount for the successful, effective and ethical implementation of digital solutions in healthcare.
COMMITTEE ON MIGRATION AND HEALTH CHALLENGES
In the context of the current migration crisis, concerns related to migration management tend to overshadow the actual needs of migrants arriving in Europe. Among these needs, access to healthcare is crucial. Currently, providing access to healthcare is often left to those volunteer-based organizations that normally operate in humanitarian crises.
This paper argues that providing primary healthcare to migrants with a focus on mental health, independently of migrants' legal status, is legally grounded and economically efficient. Under international and European human rights law, every person has a right to access healthcare. Yet in most European countries this right is granted to asylum seekers and refugees, but not to undocumented migrants, who are entitled only to emergency care. Member States have a common interest in containing national healthcare spending, and reducing expensive emergency treatment and avoiding costs related to mental health treatment can play a role in this. Early treatment and access to basic primary care is not only beneficial for undocumented migrants, but also cost-efficient in the long-term, since it eases demand for emergency care by providing cheaper – and more effective - primary care.
Early treatment is also important for tackling mental health problems. Migrants, frequently exposed to multiple traumas from war and conflicts as well as from travels and resettlement in Europe, face higher risks of mental health disorders. The result can impair physical health and the capacity to integrate into new surroundings. Mental healthcare is consequently crucial, especially for children and unaccompanied minors, who are often the most vulnerable. Budgetary pressures resulting from healthcare expenditures for migrants, who are often on the move, differ from one government to another. Coordinating their responses and sharing costs could prove beneficial to all Member States.
COMMITTEE ON PREVENTION AND SELF-CARE
Healthcare affordability is a crucial theme for European Member States. The benefits of prevention and self-care measures are supported by evidence, but barriers still prevent full exploitation of their potential.
In view of the urgent need for change, this Committee recommends three clusters of actions to be taken at EU, Member State and community level. The aim is to empower patients and health and community actors, and to influence policy makers and payers.
AT EUROPEAN LEVEL, THE EUROPEAN HEALTH PARLIAMENT CALLS UPON:
- The European Commission to enhance the assessment of the performance of healthcare systems, with a focus on patient and societal outcomes of prevention measures, and the effect of fiscal incentives
- The European Commission to create a European Joint Action focusing on self-care and prevention to coordinate on-going work in prevention and to increase awareness of self-care as a patient-empowerment tool
- The European Parliament to create an Interest Group on prevention and self-care, to promote a unified strategy on prevention and self-care across Europe and to place it as a strategic legislative priority
- The upcoming Slovakian and Maltese EU Presidencies to include recommendations around self-care and prevention in their priorities relating to food improvement and obesity, and in particular to encourage collaboration and joint funding among finance, education and health ministries on early childhood initiatives on healthy eating
AT MEMBER STATE LEVEL, THE EUROPEAN HEALTH PARLIAMENT CALLS UPON:
- Member States to increase collaborative efforts across health, social affairs, finance, education and environment ministries in support of a "prevention in all policies" approach
- Member States to increase their budget allocation for public health and prevention activities beyond the current 3% average
- Member States to develop policies, practices and incentives for prevention in the form of financial benefits for employers, and for the implementation of self-care and prevention measures for employees in the work place • Payers to promote and incentivise consumers to make positive choices and adopt healthy and sustainable habits
AT THE COMMUNITY LEVEL, THE EUROPEAN HEALTH PARLIAMENT CALLS UPON:
- Investors to take part in a fund for the implementation of self-care and preventive policies and programmes
- Public-private partnerships between food, IT and healthcare industries and governments to address current inconsistencies relating to labeling of foods
- Patient organisations and associations of healthcare professionals to prioritise education of the community on the importance of self-care and the role of lifestyle in prevention of diseases
- Healthcare professionals in the community to embrace and advocate self-care to prevent avoidable chronic diseases