The influx of large numbers of refugees means countries in Europe are currently facing serious challenges in terms of securing health. The refugee crisis was therefore the focus of discussions at the opening plenary of this year’s European Health Forum Gastein (EHFG).
Particular attention focused on the issue of the additional demands placed on healthcare systems across Europe due to the influx of asylum seekers. “In the short term it is a case of providing first aid and initial medical assistance, in the medium term it will involve the provision of care and treatment of posttraumatic disorders particularly in children, and in the long term it will require adaptation of health systems to meet the needs of increasing migration”, said Professor Brand, President of the International Forum Gastein (IFG), summarising the results of the discussions.
European priorities and responsibilities
“Both from an economic and a social point of view, Europe will benefit by providing for the needs of migrants – also taking into account that, contrary to popular belief, the majority of refugees are in fact no more likely than local populations to have any serious health problems”, explained Professor Martin McKee from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Referring to the role Europe needs to play in this context, Professor Ilona Kickbusch from the Graduate Institute in Geneva commented: “The health of European citizens can only be secured with the active involvement of policy makers in the European Union. The spirit of solidarity apparent throughout Europe after the second world war now needs to be shown towards those from war-torn countries who come to us seeking refuge.“
EHFG 2015: Joining forces and overcoming challenges
In its focus on securing the stability of healthcare systems, the European Health Forum Gastein remains committed to the European vision, which is based on solidarity and common values. The European Health Forum Gastein 2015 once again offers the European health community a platform, serving as a reminder of Europe’s responsibility and the importance of working together.
Today, securing health also means facing new challenges. The healthcare sector cannot solve these problems alone; other policy areas must indeed also be held accountable and take responsibility.
Ensuring equal access to healthcare systems must be a key goal also in view of increasing public spending on innovation. Measures need to be taken to cushion the effects of demographic change while at the same time efforts need to be undertaken to develop new solutions. New technology can also play a role in enhancing efficient use of
About the European Health Forum Gastein (EHFG)
The European Health Forum Gastein (EHFG) offers a unique platform made up of and for experts, policy makers, opinion leaders and interest groups from the health policy field. Over the last 18 years, the EHFG has developed into an institution which addresses and discusses current and future trends and developments in European health policy and thus plays a role in shaping European health policy. The EHFG is in receipt of funding from various bodies including the European Commission, the Austrian Ministry of Health and the Province of Salzburg. The EHFG is organised by the International Forum Gastein.