SOCIAL SECURITY - HEALTH CARE : EXPERTS EMPHASISE LACK OF TRANSPARENCY IN EUROPE'S HEALTH SPENDING.

 
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EU member states need to open up the black box' of their health care systems, according to Pat Cox, former President of the European Parliament, who addressed a press conference on 7 December.

Cox was speaking at the presentation of the initial findings of a new report into Financing Sustainable Healthcare in Europe, being drawn up by health care, policy and finance experts.

These initial findings include the fact that although all member states appear to be increasing levels of investment in their health care services, there is a distinct lack of transparency about how this money is actually being spent. Cox, who chairs the Steering Committee behind the report, noted that this black box' effect means it is hard to properly assess the deliverables, or health outcomes resulting from investment.

The main focus of the report, according to Cox, is that "if we spend more, we need to spend wisely". In addition to the need for increased transparency as a way to promote efficient use of resources, the study also makes a range of other recommendations.

One of these is that there should be increased competition regarding health care provision in Europe, which the experts believe can enhance "quality, choice, efficiency and equity". The report will note that increased competition between suppliers can sustain quality health care at a lower cost. Also, patients should be made financially more responsible for the health care they receive, although it should be ensured that they receive complete coverage for major...

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