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PARE0013 Financial crisis in europe affecting national health policies and patients
  1. I.I. Stylianou1
  1. 1CYPRUS LEAGUE AGAINST RHEUMATISM, Nicosia, Cyprus

Abstract

Background In USA a property bubble has burst in 2007-8, causing a financial crash. Banks worldwide, including Europe, had to write off lots of assets so had much less money than they thought. This had two effects, (a) it caused interest rates to rise a lot, as banks couldn’t lend money and (b) governments took on lots of debt bailing out banks. European countries having high national debts, either from overspending pre-crash or from bailing out their collapsing banks, plus the high interest rates for borrowing, brought them a step before bankruptcy.

Objectives European Region countries are employing a mix of policy tools in response to the financial crisis. Many of them are affecting National Health policies and by extension quality of life of patients with Rheumatic diseases.

Status of life for patients with chronic diseases is changing as countries are shrinking the budget supporting those groups. Patients with Rheumatic diseases are facing problems in many different levels; finding and keeping a job, getting proper medical care regardless of cost, having enough money to support their families, keeping a good quality of life.

Results Policy-makers are facing three main challenges:

  • Health systems require predictable sources of revenue. Sudden interruptions to public revenue streams can make it difficult to maintain necessary levels of health care.

  • Cuts to public spending on health made in response to an economic shock typically come at a time when health systems may require more, not fewer, resources.

  • Arbitrary cuts to essential services may further destabilize the health system if they erode equitable access to care and the quality of care provided, increasing costs in the longer term.

Conclusions Where the short-term situation compels governments to cut public spending on health, the policy emphasis should be on cutting wisely so to minimize adverse effects on health system performance, enhancing value and facilitating efficiency.

Disclosure of Interest None Declared

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