New evidence: how the economic crisis has affected health systems and health in Europe

Economic shocks pose a threat to health and health system performance by increasing people's requirements for health care and, at the same time, making access to care more difficult. The financial and economic crisis has had a visible but varied impact on many health systems in Europe, eliciting a wide range of responses from governments facing fiscal pressure.

The evidence demonstrates that the negative health effects of an economic crisis can be avoided by timely public policy action. Although important public policy levers lie outside the health sector, in the hands of those responsible for fiscal policy and social protection, the health system response is critical.

Two new studies published by the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies and WHO/Europe provide new evidence on the impact of the crisis on health systems and health in Europe.

Economic crisis, health systems and health in Europe: impact and implications for policy (Open University Press)

This book examines how health systems in Europe reacted to the pressure created by the financial and economic crisis that began in 2008. Drawing on the experience of over 45 countries, the book shows how strong governance and leadership at national and international levels are key to mitigating the negative health effects of a crisis and to sustaining health system performance. It will be available online from December 2015.

Economic crisis, health systems and health in Europe: country experience (Observatory Occasional Series)

This book maps health policy responses by country, so that policy-makers, researchers and others have access to information about national contexts that are of particular interest to them.