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Significant trends and factors

At mid-way point in the project several significant trends and factors became apparent which suggest the need for a ‘course correction’ to reflect and respond to these issues, and can also have a significant impact on future SF process and policy. These include:

 

  • Significant policy and operation changes in the healthcare sector...READ MORE
  • Developments within the EU policy framework and its priorities...READ MORE

 

A fresh start to SF policy thinking?

 

New knowledge and thinking is needed within the SF agenda to ensure it remains ‘fit for purpose’ in providing funding support to States and Regions in responding to these changing needs, priorities and challenges but in a manner which maintains the integrity of purpose of SF policy. The pressures and agenda of change facing Regions are formidable. Recourse should be made to the two key factors that are likely to dominate thinking. They are:

 

  • Continuing to address the problem of health inequalities. The EU in launching its communication - Solidarity in Health: Reducing Health Inequalities in the EU, October 2009 - drew attention to the need for concerted action particularly where the inequality gap seemed to be widening. As public resources continue to be squeezed, policy makers will naturally question the contribution that SF investment (the DG Sanco element) in health services and facilities makes in tackling this problem. Difficult choices will need to be made. The public health and health in all policies agenda is well known, structured and generally understood. However many of the change factors above will have a propensity to create further problems of inequality unless examined, understood and managed. 

 

  • The credit crisis cannot be ignored; the impact will pervade all dimensions of healthcare policy. Whilst it is clear that the supply of capital will all but dry up in the short-term, with the possible exception of SF there is no clear pattern of service and capital reconfiguration or transformation that offers a reliable guideline for the future shape of things to come. More evidence and analysis is required. What is certain is that the likelihood that any ad-hoc freeze on investment or cuts based service reaction may add to the problems of health inequality.

 

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