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.
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.
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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