Promoting social cohesion and convergence

COVID-19: A turning point for convergence in health and healthcare in the EU?Forthcoming

Policy brief
Planned publication date
September 2021

Abstract

The impact of COVID-19 has moved public health up the EU social policy agenda. As the EU directs its efforts towards establishing a European Health Union to guard against future health crises, this policy brief examines the extent to which the EU achieved upward convergence in terms of health andRead more

The impact of COVID-19 has moved public health up the EU social policy agenda. As the EU directs its efforts towards establishing a European Health Union to guard against future health crises, this policy brief examines the extent to which the EU achieved upward convergence in terms of health and healthcare outcomes, as well as health expenditures and delivery, prior to the pandemic. It also examines convergence patterns in infections and deaths from COVID-19 and in the mitigating measures adopted by the EU and national governments.
The findings indicate that, from 2008 to 2019, the health of EU citizens improved overall, and Member States converged in health outcomes, but disparities in government expenditures and delivery of health services continued to widen. Against this background, the COVID-19 pandemic caused further divergence, with death and infection tolls varying greatly across countries. The policy brief stresses that a European Health Union would ideally not only reinforce the crisis preparedness of the EU but also ultimately enable convergence in health and healthcare indicators across its Member States.

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  • Report

    Number of pages: 
    32
    Reference no.: 
    EF20026
    ISBN: 
    978-92-897-2195-0
    Catalogue no.: 
    TJ-AR-21-004-EN-N
    DOI: 
    10.2806/166598
    Catalogue info

    COVID-19: A turning point for convergence in health and healthcare in the EU?

    Cite this publication: 

    Eurofound (2021), COVID-19: A turning point for upward convergence in health and healthcare in the EU? Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg.

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  • Tables and graphs

    The policy brief contains the following lists of tables and figures.

    List of tables

    Table 1: Determinants of annual growth in health indicators, EU27, 2008–2019
    Table 2: Determinants of annual growth in health expenditures per capita, EU27, 2008–2019

    List of figures

    Figure 1: Convergence in life expectancy at birth, 2008–2019
    Figure 2: Convergence in self-perceived health, 2008–2019
    Figure 3: Convergence in infant mortality rate, 2008–2019
    Figure 4: Convergence in unmet needs for medical examination and care, 2008–2019
    Figure 5: Impact of GDP per capita (in euro) on health indicators, EU27, 2008–2019
    Figure 6: Convergence in government expenditures on health, 2008–2019
    Figure 7: Convergence in the supply of physicians, 2008–2016
    Figure 8: Convergence in the supply of nurses and midwives, 2008–2016
    Figure 9: Convergence in hospital bed capacity, 2008–2018
    Figure 10: Convergence in life expectancy at birth, 2019–2020
    Figure 11: COVID-19 – new cases and deaths per million, EU27, January 2020–11 August 2021
    Figure 12: COVID-19 – New cases and deaths per million by Member State, January 2020 – 11 August 2021
    Figure 13: COVID-19 – convergence in Stringency Index, January 2020–1 August 2021
    Figure 14: COVID-19 – new daily vaccinations, 28 December 2020–10 August 2021
    Figure 15: COVID-19 – total vaccines administered by GDP per capita (in euro), EU27, 30 May and 10 August 2021
    Figure 16: COVID-19 – new daily vaccinations in the EU27, United States and OECD, 13 January 2021–10 August 2021

Research carried out prior to the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union on 31 January 2020, and published subsequently, may include data relating to the 28 EU Member States. Following this date, research only takes into account the 27 EU Member States (EU28 minus the UK), unless specified otherwise.

Part of the series

  • COVID-19

    Eurofound’s work on COVID-19 examines the far-reaching socioeconomic implications of the pandemic across Europe as they continue to impact living and working conditions. A key element of the research is the e-survey, conducted in three rounds – in April and July 2020 and in March 2021. This is complemented by the inclusion of research into the ongoing effects of the pandemic in much of Eurofound’s other areas of work.

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