Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Should the EU deliver the one shop stop for health info?

European Voice yesterday organised a debate on patient choice. Since all agreed that some choice is good and necessary it was more a discussion about how patients can be helped to make the right choice. On the panel was - Mrs. Katja Neubauer, European Commission, Mr Christoph Talheim, European multiple-sclerosis platform, Dr Günther Jonitz, president of the Berlin chamber of physicians, Professor Josep Figueras, European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies.

At one point it felt like one where transferred to the HC Andersen saga The Emperor's New Clothes. Albena Arnaudova from the WHO Brussels asked what’s next with regard to the patient information proposal from the European Commission now in the hands of the European Parliament and Council. It’s quite controversial with some countries finding it way to liberal (!) and some countries not being able to support it since it goes against their constitution on freedom of speech so the panel didn’t really want to take the discussion on the proposal - Katja Neubauer from DG Sanco, in the picture to the left, just declined to comment explaining that it is something that can be said a lot about but it’s a proposal from DG Industry. Then as always in Brussels the question was raised if good unbiased information isn’t something the EU should deliver? Well what could the panellists do but agree and mention the good use patients can have already now of the EU Health Portal and that this of course is a good solution.

All business as usual until Tim King from European Voice, the organizers of the discussion, who himself admitted that he usually do not follow healthcare matters, like the child in the saga who asked why the Emperor is naked asked the panel if the European citizens who usually are not very keen on EU information really would seek and trust healthcare information from the European Commission? Silence.

He might not know healthcare matters but there are surveys supporting his suspicion. Both Euro barometer polls and the Health Consumer Powerhouse 2020 survey shows that patients do not think European Union healthcare information would be trustworthy. Patients seem also here to want to do their own choices with regards to information thus multiple sources are needed …

1 comment:

  1. same event, different description: