The OECD in collaboration with the European Commission has just published the report “Health at a Glance: Europe 2016. State of Health in the EU Cycle.”
According to the report better public health and prevention policies as well as more effective health care could save hundreds of thousands of lives and billions of euros each year in Europe.
The study estimates that the premature deaths of 550,000 working age people across European Union countries from chronic diseases, including heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and cancer, cost EU economies EUR 115 billion or 0.8% of GDP annually. This figure does not include the additional loss in terms of lower employment rates and productivity of people living with chronic health problems.
Further investion in prevention, along with measures making it easer for people with disabilities to work, would bring significant economic and social benefits in EU countries.
The report notes that the large gaps in life expectancy across countries are compounded by wide gaps within countries –between the least and most educated, between the poorest and richest-.
Health at a Glance: Europe 2016 shows slow growth in health spending in many EU countries in 2015, collectively accounting for 9.9% of EU GDP. Germany, Sweden and France each spent around 11% of GDP on health care, closely followed by the Netherlands and Denmark (at 10.8% and 10.6%, respectively). Countries in the Eastern part of the EU tend to spend much less, with shares ranging from 5% to 6% of GDP.
Download Health at a Glance: Europe 2016 here.