Prof. Martin McKee of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) called for closer cooperation between member states to provide better healthcare across the EU. Prof. McKee said that successive EU treaties had insisted that healthcare systems were the responsibility of individual governments. "As a result, many decisions that affect health systems are made by politicians whose main focus is the internal market or industrial policy,” he concluded.
McKee called for greater use to be made the EU Open Method of Cooperation - a system set up to allow countries to share healthcare experience. Prof. McKee said: "It's a means for the member states to learn from the best practices where it is difficult to harmonise laws.”
"The governments of Europe need to address this issue head on rather than ignoring it as they often do at present,” he warned. Prof. McKee added that Euro draft rules on services meant that healthcare providers across the EU would have the right to provide services across all the member states. "That could undermine the ability of governments to provide equitable health care.”
"For example, it means that a US healthcare provider could demand the same right to provide services in Europe.” Prof. McKee was speaking after one of a series of lectures on the future of European healthcare at LSHTM.
He said that many countries could learn from both the successes and failures of the British NHS. And he added that the NHS could also learn from the French approach to providing healthcare on a regional basis. He explained: "The French are integrating care delivered by different healthcare providers at a time when the UK is trying to fragment care with Foundation Trusts.”
Prof. McKee added that the Netherlands had developed innovative ways to enhance links between GPs and hospitals. "The Dutch ensure communications work well with a seamless transition between the two sectors - that's not always the case in the UK.”
MEDICA.de; Source: London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine