7 April 2019

World Health Day: European health organisations speak out on Universal Health Coverage

“An urgent call for EU action to deliver the right to health: address increasing health inequalities and barriers to healthcare in Europe today” 

World Health Day’s theme this year is Universal Health Coverage. The European Patients’ Forum, and its members (including Mental Health Europe), representing the interests of over 150 million patients in Europe strongly back the WHO’s call on world leaders and policy makers to ensure that all groups can access the care they need, and when they need it. This message is all the more important in the current challenging political environment, in which European citizens will vote to elect a new European Parliament, with the possibility of less meaningful EU action on health post-2020.

Affordable and timely access to high quality healthcare is a fundamental human right. While Universal Health Coverage is a well-recognised goal for all healthcare systems in the EU, this basic right is not yet a reality for all patients in the EU. On the contrary, evidence shows disparities in access to healthcare in Europe are increasing, with many patients falling through the cracks and being left behind with no or insufficient health coverage. This year’s World Health Day highlights Universal Health Coverage – a key target of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. With the European Elections around the corner, we renew our heartfelt call for equitable person-centred high-quality health and social care to be made accessible in a timely way, to every patient who needs it, regardless of gender, age, disability, employment, residence status or geographical location.

A snapshot of the EPF community views

The European Patients’ Forum (EPF) has been working hard towards the implementation of the political steps and actions set out in our Roadmap to achieving Universal Health Coverage for all patients by 2030: “We are calling on all EU leaders and MEP candidates to bring issues that matter to patients at the heart of the next mandate. It is crucial to raise awareness of the unmet needs, unacceptable gaps and barriers patients face in accessing healthcare”, says Nicola Bedlington, Secretary General of the European Patients’ Forum (EPF).

With universal mental health coverage still remaining a distant reality for millions of people in Europe and around the world, “achieving universal mental health care is a key societal and public health issue: people experiencing mental ill health still face constant barriers and discrimination within the healthcare system. This not only is against the rights of people with mental health problems, but it also has important repercussions on people’s physical health and in the end on society at large”, says Claudia Marinetti, Director of Mental Health Europe (MHE). 


Read the full press release HERE

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