Item 16.1: Health workforce and services

Last updated: 10.06.2016 // Nordic-Baltic statement on FIPCHS held by Estland         

Thank you Mr President,

I am speaking on behalf of the Nordic and Baltic countries, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.

Our health systems are under increasing strain from the changing and more complex health needs and demand of our populations.  This is due to reasons we have discussed and will discuss during this Assembly: emerging and re-emerging diseases, chronic diseases, demographic changes and advances in technology. In addition, the unlimited access to information makes patients informed and can create unrealistic expectations. Putting patients first, focusing on their needs and providing better care integration is one way to ease this strain as well as achieve better health outcomes.

We have been tackling these problems for many years in our countries and the EURO region as a whole, from the Alma-Ata Declaration in 1978 to the Tallinn Charter in 2008. Last year the Regional Committee for Europe adopted Priorities for health systems strengthening for the next 6 years. They include transforming health services and moving toward universal health coverage. This year we will consider a European framework for action on integrated health services delivery, developed along the lines presented in the document we are discussing here.

We appreciate the document and the hard work the Secretariat has put into it, including the amendments since January. The suggested policy options and interventions are relevant for all our countries. We see that some of our biggest challenges lie not only in successfully setting up integrated care models among health service providers but also in including the social sector and reaching  communities. Putting patients and their needs in the focus should be the main goal for all stakeholders.

The ambition of the framework is to be universally applicable, and regional adaptations will be made. We would like to emphasise the importance that special attention is paid to the starting point of low income countries, where qualified personnel and health services are most scarce.

Measuring health system performance is a challenge. We encourage WHO to work with the broad science community and with OECD to develop indicators for the measurement of progress without imposing too heavy burden of reporting on member states. We stand ready to be actively involved and contribute to this process, including within the context of the EU Health System Performance Assessment Project.

The Nordic and Baltic countries give their full support to the Framework.