Rationing of health services across Europe is inevitable

By Nick Bostock, 30 March 2011

The cost of healthcare across Europe is rising faster than governments' ability to fund it, according to a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Europe: report shows that health costs are rising faster than funding (Photograph: Istock)

Europe: report shows that health costs are rising faster than funding (Photograph: Istock)

The report identified seven key trends that will shape healthcare over the next two decades.

Health spending will continue to rise due to inflation, but also because governments realise better public health boosts economic growth.

Countries with universal healthcare models, however, will be forced to ration care and 'consolidate healthcare facilities', the report predicts.

It predicts that GPs will become ever more important as gatekeepers to the wider health systems in European countries and as 'co-ordinators' of treatment for patients with multiple long-term conditions.

Public health will have to improve to help health systems cut costs by promoting healthy behaviour, the report predicts, and governments will have to increase the transparency and quality of health data.

The report, The future of healthcare in Europe, goes on to predict a range of possible outcomes for healthcare in European countries depending on the decisions they take, ranging from bestto worst-case scenario outcomes.

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