The Future of Healthcare in Europe Conference


The Finnish Institute in London organised a conference about the future of healthcare in Europe 13 May 2011 in collaboration with University College London.

The conference brought together leading academic experts, healthcare professionals, consultants and public policy officials to discuss and define the main challenges in providing good quality healthcare in Europe. Challenges discussed were such as ageing population, increasing complexity of diseases and healthcare needs and the rise of mental health problems and obesity. Also the effects of chronic diseases fuelled by environmental and socioeconomic factors and lifestyle were under debate.

The conference provided an excellent platform for speakers from different backgrounds to express and exchange their views. There was a consensus about the impact social and economic factors have on healthcare - and many speakers highlighted the need for political will to create change. A common concern among speakers and participants was that inequality in access to and effectiveness of healthcare remain high. For example new e-health applications and electronic processes have increased inequality in access to healthcare.

"I think that the conference made a strong contribution to the international discussion about the future of healthcare. We learned about different healthcare challenges and solutions, such as eHealth and public-private partnerships, which may be used to improve citizen-oriented health services. However, access to ICT-based self-help benefits most the people with already good access to healthcare services. Private-public partnerships on the other hand may sometimes increase efficiency, but they may also lead to poorer quality of services." Jussi Nissilä, the Society Programme Director from the Finnish Institute says.

The conference featured over 25 speakers and over 100 other participants, with keynote addresses from Professor Sir Michael Marmot (UCL Epidemiology and Public Health and Chair of WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health) and Michael Hübel (Head of Health Determinants Unit, DG Health & Consumers, European Commission). Other speakers included Dr Jennifer Dixon (The Nuffield Trust), Professor Peter Littlejohns (National Institute for Heath and Clinical Excellence, NICE) and Professor Marina Erhola (National Institute for Health and Welfare in Finland).

"I'm very happy to say that collaborating with UCL on this project has been very succesful. I'm also pleased the conference attracted a great number of top experts from different fields and countries. The future of healthcare depends on our ability to collaborate and learn from others", Jussi Nissilä concludes.