In their contributions to the consultation on future EU health strategy, stakeholders have called for better co-ordination between public health and other policy areas, the need for more comparable data on the impact of investments in health and further debate on healthcare.
In the reflection paper, Commissioner Byrne argues that good health is a driver of economic growth but “without long-term investment in good health, healthcare and social costs will continue to rise and economies will inevitably suffer”. David Byrne warns that the emphasis must move away from a “defensive approach”, one that focuses on the prevention of illness, to a “forward-looking approach” advocating life-long physical and mental well-being. Tackling inequalities that lead to differences in the quality of health, housing and work conditions and the living environment is another area a future health strategy should address. The commissioner argues that a co-ordinated approach is necessary to fight health inequalities as it involves a number of EU policy areas (including agriculture, environment and trade). David Byrne has also said that the funds available under the EU’s Public Health Programme are insufficient and that this should be taken into consideration in the ongoing discussions on the new financial framework.