Responding to Czechia’s ageing population by strengthening the role of nurses in integrated services delivery
To address Czechia’s challenge of providing health services to its ageing population with changing health needs, the Ministry of Health invited a group of experts to identify ways in which strengthening the role of nurses and scaling up integrated care would support the country in its efforts.
The team was made up of experts from WHO, its European Centre for Primary Health Care in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and the International Council of Nurses. Together they conducted a series of interviews with a wide range of stakeholders from across the health- and social-care sectors and facilitated a workshop in Prague, Czechia, on 25–27 March 2019.
Increase in life expectancy
Health in Czechia has improved significantly over recent years. Life expectancy has improved steadily, and increased by nearly 4 years between 2000 and 2015 to 78.7 years. Steady improvements in preventing premature deaths, for example, from cardiovascular diseases, have helped.
These improvements have been supported by the country’s high level of financial protection, marked by a comprehensive benefit package and low out-of-pocket spending. This has resulted in fewer financial barriers to accessing high-quality health services.
Cardiovascular diseases remain the leading cause of death. Many risk factors such as tobacco use and alcohol consumption continue to pose a challenge to health in the country.
An ageing workforce and an ageing population
Czechia is experiencing a rapidly ageing population. This is affecting both the number of patients seeking care and the availability of health professionals. Furthermore, the labour market is faced with a slow and steady migration of Czech workers to other European Union countries, adding to workforce challenges in the country.
In this context, stakeholders were asked to think about:
- how to reorganize primary care to support more services for older people;
- how to better network hospital services with primary care and long-term care services; and
- how to make better use of the workforce at hand.
The discussions will inform a series of activities that will roll out over the course of 2019 in collaboration with WHO and its European Centre for Primary Health Care to deliver better health services for the Czech population.