by Professor Jan De Maeseneer, Chair of the Expert Panel on Effective Ways of Investing in Health, Professor in Family Medicine and Primary Health Care, Ghent University, Belgium
Citizens in the European Union expect good quality healthcare, and in fact, it's been promised to them in the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union, which states that a high level of human health protection is to be ensured in the definition and implementation of all Union policies and activities and that the EU action should complement national policies and encourage cooperation between Member States in the field of public health while respecting the responsibilities of the Member States for the organisation and delivery of health services and medical care.
So how, in practice, can the Commission help make those ideals realities? Well, in part by relying on expert advice to develop its health policies and assist Member States to make informed, responsible investments in health, so that their health systems are modern, responsible and sustainable.
For this reason, the Commission set up the Expert Panel on effective ways of investing in Health in July 2012, to provide non-binding, scientific advice on matters related to health system modernisation, responsiveness, and sustainability.
The Expert Panel's area of competence include primary care, hospital care, pharmaceuticals, research and development, disease prevention and health promotion, social protection, cross-border cooperation, health economics and eHealth, and in its first few years of existence has published Opinions (see Focus News) that support health and health care policy making in the EC and the Member States.
Panel members are independent experts from all over Europe with a wealth of combined experience and knowledge in the health care sector. Chosen from a pool of highly qualified experts after an open call for expression of interest, the diversity of the 12 Expert Panel members and their professional and academic achievements makes the Panel an invaluable resource that strengthens the connection between European policy makers and European citizens and helps to transform ideals in a treaty to realities in the lives of people throughout the EU.