This report is the first output of Eurofound’s research project on the impacts of the recent financial and economic crisis on access to publicly financed healthcare services in the EU. It aims to provide an overview of context and developments, setting the scene for the ongoing research project. Following a description of the policy context, this report goes on to explore how the crisis has impacted demand for and supply of healthcare services. It characterises different dimensions of access and discusses how the crisis may have impacted on barriers to access. It highlights groups that have traditionally been in vulnerable situations with regard to access, as well as those that may have been particularly affected by the crisis.