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EU: Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council

Volume 702: debated on Monday 16 June 2008

My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Ann Keen) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council was held on 9 and 10 June 2008. The health part was held on 10 June. Andy Lebrecht, deputy permanent representative to Brussels, represented the United Kingdom.

The council adopted conclusions on the Slovenian presidency themes of reducing the burden of cancer and tackling anti-microbial resistance. Ministers also adopted council conclusions on the implementation mechanisms for the European Union health strategy. The UK intervened on this point to emphasise the importance of the work on health inequalities as part of the health strategy, in particular that this work should have clear links to the World Health Organisation (WHO) report on health inequalities and social determinants by Sir Michael Marmot, to be published in September. The UK invited all member states to a conference in light of the report, due to take place in November in London.

Ministers also adopted council conclusions on the provision of information to patients on medicinal products. This was followed by a policy debate, where Ministers discussed the Commission's intention to bring forward a proposal on information to patients on medicinal products in the future, with member states exchanging views and experiences in this area.

Over lunch, there was a discussion on the EU action plan for combating tuberculosis, which was published in February 2008. The discussion was introduced with a presentation from Zsuszanna Jakab, director of the European Centre for Disease Control, who emphasised the importance of EU work with the WHO and third countries to reduce tuberculosis (TB). Member states were supportive of the work and discussed their experiences of tackling TB at a national level.

Under any other business, Commissioner Androula Vassiliou made a statement about the forthcoming cross-border healthcare directive, which the Commission intends to publish this summer.