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Young Leaders for Future Healthcare Sustainability

Young Leaders for Future Healthcare Sustainability

Health policy decisions made today have significant impact on the future of Europe, affecting future generations. The year 2020 has been an extraordinary year for the entire globe. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has led to disruptions, challenges, and changes beyond expectations. It brought to light the weaknesses in our healthcare systems and the inequalities within and between countries. Above all, it underlines our differences and the importance of solidarity in a globalised world.

Health has been put at the top of the agenda at EU and national level, supported by a significant EU recovery plan for the ‘Next Generation EU’ (NGEU). This investment will support not only health, but also green- and digital transitions. These themes are significantly interconnected and should serve as key pillars in creating a sustainable and resilient Europe of the future.

Especially now during the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an increased and urgent need to rely on digital tools and technologies by the entire health system, including both citizens and healthcare providers. The integration of these digital transformations can be challenging, but also reveal tremendous potential for healthcare delivery of the future. It can improve access and convenience for citizens, offering possibilities to enhance health literacy and promote healthy and sustainable lifestyles.

Currently, young leaders are taking a stand and advocate for a better and healthier Europe of the future. The young generation has the capability to create social change and influence political decision making. Above all, youth deserves the right to represent their own interests in decisions that impact their and next generations’ future. It is time to rethink the way we approach health, shifting the norm towards prevention and increasing sustainability of our healthcare systems.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) highlighted how health spending will continue to increase and will outpace GDP growth over the next 15 years in almost every OECD country. They also underline that up to one-fifth of health spending is wasteful and could be reallocated to better use, with currently merely 3% of healthcare budgets dedicated to prevention. Profound change is needed and now is the time to do it.

Therefore, the European Health Parliament (EHP), representing 60 young leaders in the field of health spread across Europe, has been dedicated to the development of innovative, sustainable and equitable recommendations on the most pressing issues in health today.

This September, the EHP launched their recommendations. The vision of the youth brought forward through these recommendations offers new concepts on how we need to move from “healthcare” systems to “health” systems, how digital transformation and innovation is of tremendous value, and how citizens should be at the centre of health policy.

The future of Europe begins now.

Bjelle Roberts

EHP5 President

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