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Informal Health Council

Volume 580: debated on Thursday 8 May 2014

EU Health Ministers met in Athens on 28 and 29 April. The UK was represented by a senior official from the Department of Health. The agenda included discussions on e-health, migration and public health, and the economy and health care.

The meeting began with a discussion on e-health. The Greek presidency chaired a discussion on the potential for electronic prescriptions and mobile technology to improve the quality and efficiency of health care and boost economic growth. The UK underlined the importance of innovation and sharing best practices.

On migration and public health, there was a discussion on the screening of migrants for infectious diseases. The UK argued in favour of evidence-based national approaches to screening, and outlined the current position in the UK particularly in relation to TB.

There was also discussion on the need to reform health care systems in light of pressures on public budgets across the EU, the ageing population and the rising burden of chronic disease.

Points were made on the advantages of investing in health prevention, health indicators and using medicines more cost effectively. The UK intervention highlighted the importance of taking action on dementia, the need to focus on prevention, and other measures taken in the UK to ensure the best use of resources, while stressing that matters such as health technology assessment are issues of member state competence.