Access to healthcare in times of crisis

In the wake of the economic and financial crisis, many European governments have cut spending on healthcare services. At the same time, unemployment, financial strain and reduced prevention have increased the need for certain healthcare services, while falling disposable income has made access to healthcare more difficult for many EU households. This report identifies the groups most likely to face barriers to healthcare as a consequence of the crisis, including a number of new groups that have been generally overlooked by policymakers. It suggests a range of policy pointers, including the need to consider mitigating measures in tandem with policy reform, and suggests policymakers and service providers might consider reviewing crisis responses once financial pressures on EU Member States begin to ease: they may consider, in particular: investing more in working conditions of healthcare staff, apart from salaries, as an effective option to tackle staff shortages; developing alternative care infrastructures to nursing homes and hospital care; making investments in the short run (in ICT, self-help facilities, home care and ambulatory care) to free up resources in the longer term.