Strengthening primary care to tackle noncommunicable diseases in Denmark


Ageing populations, increased chronicity and multimorbidities challenge health services to continuously evolve and adapt. Today 80% of the disease burden is due largely to preventable noncommunicable diseases in the WHO European Region, while the average of preventable hospitalizations for diseases such as hypertension and diabetes has reached 73% in some countries. These changes place new demands on primary care in terms of engaging patients, designing comprehensive flow of care, organizing providers in multidisciplinary teams to secure qualifications and competencies, and aligning incentives while ensuring access to high-quality health and social services.

To discuss these topics, delegates from the Ministry of Health of Denmark, local government, National Health Board, Health Data Authority, Danish regions and the Ministry of Finance visited the WHO Regional Office in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 17 August 2016. With the development of its new cancer and dementia plans, Denmark is now accelerating its efforts to tackle these and other noncommunicable diseases.

During the meeting, the health services delivery programme of the Division of Health Systems and Public Health shared the country experiences that informed the new European Framework for Action on Integrated Health Services Delivery, and explained the services perspective to strengthening a competent primary care workforce. The use of databases and performance measurement of ambulatory care sensitive conditions were also discussed.