Exploring health policy development in Europe



Edited by Anna Ritsatakis, Ruth Barnes, Evert Dekker, Patsy Harrington, Simo Kokko and Peter Makara
WHO Regional Publications, European Series, No 86
2000, xvi + 539 pages
ISBN 92 890 1352 4
This publication is only available online.

Countries in Europe have long recognized that good health care, though essential, is not in itself sufficient to improve health or to reduce the increasing gaps in health status between the rich and the poor. In 1984, together with WHO, they adopted what has become known as the health for all policy. By the late 1990s, over half the European Member States had developed national health policies in line with health for all. This called for a radical shift from health services planning to an approach based on setting objectives and targets for health, requiring partnerships with industry, agriculture and commerce and settings such as workplaces and schools. It also required changes in behaviour and action to ensure a fairer distribution of the determinants of health, such as income, education, employment opportunities, and adequate food and housing.

This book provides a detailed and comprehensive review of health for all policy development in all 51 Member States. It draws together the main policy lessons from over 20 years of experience in Europe. It also identifies some of the future challenges for policy-makers throughout the Region, such as increasing inequities in health, social exclusion, demographic changes, rising expectations and the rapidly expanding developments in information and technology.

This publication will be of use to those in health administrations interested in or able to influence health policy development, to their colleagues in other sectors and departments whose work may impinge on health, and to decision-makers at national, regional and local levels who must take action for health and development. Much of the material should also appeal to a wider readership, and provoke some of the interest and discussion necessary for democratic decision-making.