The Minister for Health, Lydia Mutsch, attended the annual meeting of the European Health Forum Gastein, from 1 to 2 October 2015 in Bad Hofgastein, Austria. Entitled 'Securing Health in Europe: balancing priorities, sharing responsibilities', the 18th Forum brought together key players in the field of public health - including policy-makers and representatives from the European Commission, European Parliament, the World Health Organization and leading forces of organised civil society - to discuss issues that have hit the headlines in recent months. Discussions primarily addressed the refugee crisis and the challenges linked to access to new and innovative medicines, two issues which are also among the priorities of the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
In the presence of the European Commissioner for Health, Vytenis Andriukaitis, and his Latvian counterpart, Guntis Belevics, Lydia Mutsch stressed before a very diverse audience that 'investment in prevention is crucial if we are to guarantee our patients a financially viable health system based on European values of universality, solidarity and equal access to high-quality healthcare'. Luxembourg's Minister believes that access to healthcare for migrants is a basic human right. It is for the Member States to respond to the specific health needs of migrants, whilst maintaining a high level of national cover.
The Forum also gave the Minister the opportunity to detail the forthcoming priorities and meetings of the Presidency in the field of health. In that context, she argued that patient mobility in the European Union will be measured on the dissemination of quality information on patients' rights and how to exercise those rights. Policy-makers should make the most of cross-border cooperation and take patients' needs into account when taking decisions concerning the organisation of the health systems that concern them (patient empowerment).
Commissioner Andriukaitis applauded Luxembourg for its recent support given to the declaration of intent between the Netherlands and Belgium with a view to joining efforts in negotiations with the pharmaceutical industry concerning medications to treat certain rare illnesses. 'The Lisbon Treaty does not prevent the greater cooperation of Member States', stressed the Commissioner.
Press release from the Ministry of Health