Clemens Martin Auer says that ‘ trust ‘ is essential in reforming EU national healthcare systems

All too often, the best intentions of European governments in the area of healthcare reform do not translate into a decent ‘ let alone successful implementation ‘ strategy. This is one of the key messages coming from the first day of the Gastein European Health Forum in Austria this year.
Money shortages and human resources are not the only factors that can frustrate reform efforts, since even well-resourced health systems can be hampered by unsuccessful reforms.
Clemens Martin Auer, president of the Gastein European Health Forum, spoke on Wednesday discussing how Austria has strengthened its healthcare system in recent years. He acknowledged in a keynote speech that the country was “totally unsatisfactory” when it came to funding primary healthcare.
Auer, also a special health delegate in Austria, stated that it is important to first decide on a set of goals to deal with healthcare costs. As part of the radical changes it has made, Austria has formalized common health policy priorities.
Noora Heinone, a ministerial counselor at the Finnish Ministry for Social Affairs and Health’s Department for Insurance and Social Security, said her country’s people are getting older, putting her health care system “under real stress.”
Although Finland had been active in “cost containment” under previous governments, she said that the current government’s “key” target is now health reform.
Speakers also included Laura Casey from the Irish Health Department’s Health Systems and Structures Division, who said that the Irish government drafted a new ten-year “plan” of health care in 2016. The plan is multi-faceted, she said, with one key prong including changing the model to a more “population-based” one.
Another participant, Christoph Schwierz, clarified the role of the European Commission’s Systemic Reform Support Service (SRSS). He noted that this provides “technical support” to Member States wishing to accelerate the implementation of systemic healthcare reforms.