Economic crisis, health systems and health in Europe. Impact and implications for policy (2015)




By Sarah Thomson, Josep Figueras, Tamás Evetovits, Matthew Jowett, Philipa Mladovsky, Jonathan Cylus, Marina Karanikolos and Hans Kluge
Published by Open University Press
European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies Series
2015, xxviii + 188 pages
ISBN 978 0 335 26400 1

Economic shocks threaten health and health systems' performance by increasing people's need for health care and hindering access to care: a situation compounded by cuts in public spending on health and other social services. Timely public policy action, however, can prevent these negative effects. While important public policy levers lie outside the health sector, in the hands of those responsible for fiscal policy and social protection, the health system's response is critical.

This book looks at how health systems in Europe reacted to pressure created by the financial and economic crisis that began in 2008. Drawing on the experience of over 45 countries, the authors:

  • analyse health systems' responses to the crisis in three policy areas: public funding for the health system, health coverage and health-service planning, purchasing and delivery;
  • assess the impact of these responses on health systems and population health;
  • identify policies most likely to sustain the performance of health systems facing financial pressure; and
  • explore the political economy of implementing reforms in a crisis.

The book is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the choices available to policy-makers – and the implications of failing to protect health and health-system performance – in the face of economic and other forms of shock.