The European Public Health Alliance (EPHA), which refers to itself as a 'platform of NGOs and not-for-profit organisations', calls for institutional funding for health NGOs, which, unlike other NGOs, receive none. EPHA has drafted a detailed opinion on the Commission's proposal and identified nine points that are missing compared to the previous health programme.
The European Men's Health Forum (EMHF) had tabled an amendment to the EU health strategy explicitly calling on the EU to aim to promote equality between men and women in all community activities including health protection. "A gender-sensitive approach to screening, disease and injury prevention programmes could help improve the effectiveness of resources dedicated to tackling priority health issues such as smoking, alcohol abuse, sexual health, nutrition and physical activity," said the director of the EMHF, Erick Savoye. Ludovic Lacaine, who is in charge of European Affairs at the EMHF called the Commission’s proposal for a new health programme "gender-blind". The Commission's amended (May 2006) proposal takes into account Parliament's request for action on gender aspect of health.
The European Heart Network (EHN), the Association of European Cancer Leagues, the International Diabetes Federation -Europe, and the European Cancer Patient Coalition call the Commission's rewrite of the Public health programme "a sad turn of event [...] as by tackling health determinants in isolation from the diseases they cause, the new proposal fails to convince that the EU has a real health agenda.
European Heart Network (EHN) believes that it is important to address cardiovascular disease (CVD) through its risk factors and the wider determinants and is disappointed with the Commission's amended health action programme proposal, as "it does not emphasise the key diseases in the way we had hoped".
The President of Pfizer's European pharmaceutical business, Ian Read, thinks that "Europeans need to challenge an entrenched point of view on healthcare - as a cost to government instead of an investment in people. For more than a decade, political debate has framed healthcare as an expense. A more far-sighted view would consider health spending as an investment in an economic engine. [...] Treating healthcare as an engine of growth is not only good economics; it is also good for business."
The European Health Management Association (EHMA) thinks that the Commission proposal is not sufficient in terms of ensuring the safety of patients and of citizens. Petra Wilson from EHMA said that "health is the fourth, forgotten daughter of Lisbon" and points out that the health sector is a huge employer.
Paul de Raeve from the European Federation of Nurses Associations (EFN) urges the national government and the Commission to keep in touch with the civil society health professionals. He also emphasises the importance of having "motivated nurses", referring to the mobility of nurses and recognition of their qualifications. EFN believes that future public health and health care strategies must focus on promoting health and reducing the present gap in health status between the member states as well as between different groups within each country. It also believes that "although it is the responsibility of individuals and families to make their own choices in relation to their lifestyle and health, public policies have an essential role to play in ensuring that the physical and social environment supports and facilitates healthy choices".
The European Patients Forum questions why "life-style education" is missing in the Commission proposal and urges the Commission to be more pro-active in health issues.
A Spanish government representative noted, in a stakeholder meeting in 2005, that, "member states are setting health policies at different levels - World Health Organisation, Council of Europe and the EU and are paying to all these organisations. The crucial question is about how much money we will get for the many actions envisaged. We should concentrate on something we can achieve."