The organisation of resilient health and social care following the COVID-19 pandemic

European Union Publications Office
Publication date:


The COVID-19 pandemic has raised questions about the resilience of health systems across the globe. Many analyses of its impact and the responses adopted have already been published. The Panel received a mandate to look beyond the current crisis and consider how health systems can prepare better for future threats. Specifically, the mandate requested a new framework for the organisation of health and social care following the COVID-19 pandemic. This Opinion (1) identifies the building blocks of resilient health and social care systems, (2) explores the elements and conditions for capacity building to strengthen health system resilience, (3) addresses healthcare provision for vulnerable patient groups and how to sustain such provision in a system under stress, and (4) sets out an approach to develop and implement “resilience tests” of Member State’s health systems. The recommendations target a number of key areas, including: enhancing workforce training and resilience, reviewing research and development and procurement (especially for innovative medicines), identifying and reducing disinformation, fostering interprofessional and inter-sectoral collaboration with community health workers and informal care givers for example, integrating information and communication technologies across care levels and public health, strengthening primary and mental health care, increasing public health focus on psychological distress, debating methods for Member States to collect and share aggregate health data on ethnicity and socioeconomic status, developing and deploying online trainings for frontline health and social care professionals regarding care provision to vulnerable groups, and finally investing from the European Commission in the development and implementation of (a) comprehensive resilience testing of health systems that use qualitative and quantitative data collection methodologies to generate meaningful, actionable results for health system transformation, and (b) corresponding learning communities within and across Member States to share lessons learned through this process.

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