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Awareness of crisis management strengthened among European Ministers for Health

24-04-2012 15:27:00

Family photo from the meeting

Photo: Bjarke Ørsted

European Ministers for Health have discussed how to make room for innovation in the health systems both at national and European level. They also pushed forward the agenda on chronic diseases in the discussion on patient empowerment. Ministers also discussed medical devices and agreed to use the Health Security Committee as a platform for crisis management in the field of medical devices.

Minister for Health Astrid Krag has as a part of the Danish Presidency of the Council of the EU chaired the informal meeting on 23-24 April 2012 in Horsens for her European Colleagues. John Dalli, the EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, and Zsuzsanna Jakab, Director of the WHO Regional Office for Europe also attended the meeting.

The two day meeting especially strengthened the minister’s awareness of the importance of improving the framework for innovation in health care if the European countries are to cope with financial crisis, demographic challenges while simultaneously safeguarding high quality health care systems.

The Ministers also agreed to use the Health Security Committee as a platform for crisis management in the field of medical devices. The Health Security Committee will from now on be used if there is a need for quick and resolute response from the health Ministers to critical matters.

The debate on patient empowerment showed common understanding between the Ministers on the need to give people with chronic disease the possibility to play an active role in managing their own disease. They discussed the advantages and pitfalls of patient empowerment for the individual patient, the European health care systems and societies in general.

Minister for Health, Astrid Krag, states:
"Patient empowerment has many dimensions. There is not only one way. We are face with a new paradigm – a cultural change –that we have to work systematically to implement in national policies in the coming years. Therefore I am very glad to see common understanding among my colleagues that patient empowerment is not a question of leaving patients alone. Nor that it is an exercise in cutting expenditures. It is about getting the best quality of treatments for the resources we have."

With the discussion the Danish EU Presidency has ensured, that patient empowerment will be a  key component in the ongoing European Reflection Process aiming to identify options to optimize the response to the challenges of chronic diseases.


Katrine Schjønning, Head of Department, Ministry of Health: Tel: +45 25 27 56 32 
Svend Særkjær, Deputy Permant Secretary, Ministry of Health: Tel: +45 72 26 94 20
Andreas Boe Sjøholm, Press Officer, Ministry of Health: Tel: +45 50 96 50 69

See photos from the meeting

Informal Epsco meetingPhoto: Bjarke Ørsted

Video: Highlights from the Informal meeting of Ministers (EPSCO)