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Public Health (09-09-2011)

Consultation report highlights support for EU response on ALL cross-border health threats

Today, the European Commission's Directorate-General for Health and Consumers publishes the results of its stakeholder consultation on the Health Security initiative.

75 responses to the on-line questionnaire were received between 4 March and 31 May from national, regional and local authorities, health institutions, members of the EU Health Policy Forum, international organizations, NGOs, enterprises and interest groups. In addition, the outcome of the consultations with all Member States represented in the Health Security Committee and the Network Committee on communicable diseases is included in the report.

The majority of respondents are strongly in favour of all serious cross-border threats - including threats arising from deliberate or accidental biological, chemical and environmental events - being covered by the Health Security initiative. They also believe that:

  • Preparedness planning should address all cross-border health threats and the EU should play a central role encouraging and coordinating national preparedness plans.
  • There is a need for better assessment of the risks of health threats to the population. Reliable, consistent and timely scientific expertise would support decision makers when preparing their policies and recommendations.
  • The management of health crises at European level should be improved for all serious cross-border health threats so that implementation of public health measures are optimised and delays in response reduced.

The EU has, since 1998, a policy and legal framework in place to address communicable diseases. The aim of the Health Security initiative is to provide comparable protection to citizens for other serious cross-border health threats. The outcome of the stakeholder consultation will serve as valuable input for the ongoing assessment of the feasibility of various policy options.

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