HOPE is representing its members in the European arena covering all policies with an impact on hospitals and health services. HOPE contributes to the legislative agenda but also to the non-legislative activities in particular through participation in European projects and joint actions. Since its creation HOPE has produced comparative information on the ways healthcare systems are organised and financed. It includes as well a unique annual exchange programme for health professionals, together with study tours, workshops and conferences
Major trends can be observed as regards the rising demand for higher transparency on the quality of care and the increasing specialization of health professionals, which requires centralization of complex care procedures. The current shortage of physicians will accelerate the process of structural adjustments in healthcare, affecting particularly smaller hospitals. Simultaneously, the provision of sufficient and adequate healthcare services of high quality on the local levels has to be maintained.
The first action to put in place consists in involving more the patients. They are interested in having much more information on their own conditions after the treatment and being involved in the decision making process. Another factor consists in how cares are integrated with the healthcare tasks the municipalities are in charge of. A further challenge consists in the need to continue the development of eHealth possibilities. It is also desirable improving the connection between hospitals and society.
Planning and implementing all the necessary changes in the hospital network have to take place in a balanced collaboration with competence centres, smaller hospitals and other specialist care providers. Hospital network developments have to be aimed at ensuring quality and safety of specialist care, rational use of resources and ensuring sustainability of the system. Hospital networking is a collaboration process of different types of hospitals to achieve uniform availability of health care services in the country.
One of the main challenges Finland envisages for the next five year is the integration between health and social care as well as the simplification of the new financing system. For this reason, patients will play a central role and consequently the organisation of services will be more patient-centred. This topic represents a critical point in the political agenda. Furthermore, in the country there is the need to set the real value for the different treatments and to prioritise them accordingly.
Challenges France has to envisage in the next years are: restoring the link between local communities and hospitals; refocusing supervisory agencies on their strategic steering mission; regulating doctors freedom of practice by penalisig practictioners who decide to settle in over-served areas; improving healthcare relevance; fostering transparency in health open data; enhancing the information system to become more efficient; reaching efficiency in the field of funding innovation.
Besides struggling for adequate financial resources, Germany’s hospitals are facing a lack of health workers. Due to demographic change and an increasing ageing population, more healthcare workers will be needed in the mid-term. Bearing in mind that also healthcare workers will get older in average too, the need for more junior staff will be even bigger.
In the next five years, the challenges the Italian NHS envisages are: moving from Evidence Base Medicine towards Evidence Base Medicine and cost – effectiveness; moving towards a new organization of NHS more oriented on processes rather than on structures; moving towards a Health Promotion Approach.
One of the main challenges the country has to face is the tendency of students to cross the border to be educated. The lack of professionals working in this sector is an obstacle that should be overcame through the introduction of measures aimed at motivating them to stay instead of to migrate.
The changes the country has to be ready to face are the creation of a strategic plan; the increasing percentage of ageing population and the growing need of treatments for elderly people; the necessity of introducing a planning system for long term care.
Within the challenges the country has to face it is possible to mention: major investment in primary, community and rehabilitation to shift emphasis and burden away from acute care; major public relations and education campaign running for years influencing perceptions and attitudes towards health and well-being; major investment in training for employees.
Patients should be more involved in their path of care rather than acting just as customers. On the professionals’ side, it is necessary to make the nursing career more attractive. Stronger cooperation between public and private sector is necessary as well as between Government and stakeholders.
he changes that Portugal will face in the next five years could be resumed as follows: the sustainability of the Portuguese NHS, from the economic and financial point of view and from the management strategy of the healthcare professionals and of human resources; healthcare policies and integrated management and chronic diseases; shortage of human resources; possible deterioration of health indicators as a medium and long-term consequence of the economic, financial and social crisis; increase of mental health problems.
The main change the whole country expects is the organisation of public hospitals as well as the governance and management of the private ones. We are also expecting a public debate whether to decrease benefit package (basket) to suite the amount of financial resources that are available or to increase financial resources to cover the existing benefit package. If the second proposal will be decided there will also be the opportunity to decrease the regression of financing healthcare in Slovenia. The country is now characterized by high co-payments for almost all treatments on one side and the contributions are paid from only few incomes.
The Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality is trying to introduce and implement the clinical management Units, to develop a standard of basic character that regulates the principles of clinical management throughout the national territory. It will make possible a greater involvement of the doctor and health workers in the governance of public health. This model will enable professionals to participate in a more direct way in the management of resources and decision-making, and will also be positive for patients, because it will result in an improvement of the quality of care.
What we would like to see are shorter waiting times, more equal access to healthcare services, and an even larger focus on quality issues in health care – that we would really be able to develop based on all the quality measurements that are made.
Quality and transparency of treatments are priorities and for this reason hospitals increased the level of care to meet patients’ expectations. At the same time, the level of out-of-pocket payments grew and hospitals feel pressure due to the fact that they have to justify what healthcare services they provide at that price. A further change is the concentration of high-complex treatment and dispersion of low-complex treatments to more and smaller hospitals. Besides, healthcare is sector characterized by economic growth. Companies tend to cooperate with hospitals to develop new technologies, products and services that will also bring down unit costs and can be commercially exported to other countries.