The imaginary Chief Psychologist of the EU has probably prescribed that from now on only good news should come from Brussels. “We need optimism”.
The imaginary Chief Psychologist of the EU has probably prescribed that from now on only good news should come from Brussels. “We need optimism”. I would agree, but not the extent that you mislead people. The reason I say this is that SANCO, the public health directorate of the European Commisson, just issued its latest report on health inequalities in the European Union. Having just attended the excellent EPHA conference (where people where tweeting away making it very interactive) I had expected the report to point to the remaining challenges to equitable access to health across the EU. And everyone agrees that the financial crises, with dramatic cuts in health spending, has not helped. In fact, the Commission report concludes that:
“For a few key health indicators, such as overall life expectancy at birth and infant mortality, there has been both an overall improvement and a small narrowing of inequalities between Member States over the last decade, although the level of these inequalities remains unacceptably high. But health inequalities between social groups, between rich and poor, between the university educated and those with lower education and between the general population and certain groups including Roma remain high and persistent, and the economic situation in some places poses additional challenges for the future.”
However, somehow some spin doctor, at the advice of the Chief Shrink, selected to highlight in the press release only the good numbers, missing the point that inequalities persist. And I am afraid this is how the report will be remembered. Inequalities should not be glossed over by select numbers; it’s essential to look beyond select numbers that paint a happy picture, at the full picture – as EFPIA’s Chief Economist Richard Torbett has shown in his own blog. We should be far from happy with where we are, and that includes access to medicines, new and old.0