Brussels, 16 November 2012
Health spending in Europe in 2010 fell for the first time in decades, says a joint Commission/OECD Report
Health spending per person and as a percentage of GDP fell across the European Union in 2010. This is one of the many findings in the "Health at a Glance: Europe 2012", a new joint report by the OECD and the European Commission. From an annual average growth rate of 4.6% between 2000 and 2009, health spending per person fell to -0.6% in 2010. This is the first time that health spending has fallen in Europe since 1975.
In Ireland, health spending fell 7.9% in 2010, compared with an average annual growth rate of 6.5% between 2000 and 2009. In Estonia, health expenditure per person dropped by 7.3% in 2010, following growth of over 7% per year from 2000 to 2009, with reductions in both public and private spending. In Greece, estimates suggest that health spending per person fell 6.7% in 2010, reversing annual growth of 5.7% between 2000 and 2009.
While the report does not show any worsening health outcome due to the crisis, it also underlines that efficient health spending is necessary to ensure the fundamental goal of health systems in EU countries.
Source: Health at a Glance: Europe 2012 (based on OECD Health Data 2012; Eurostat Statistics Database: WHO Global Expenditure Database)
Spending on disease prevention accounts for only 3% of total health spending
Governments, under pressure to protect funding for acute care, are cutting other expenditures such as public health and prevention programmes. In 2010, the expenditure was 3.2% less than the year before. This means that on average across EU countries, only 3% of a shrinking health budget was allocated to prevention and public health programmes in areas such as immunisation, smoking, alcohol drinking, nutrition and physical activity. The report emphasizes that spending on prevention now can be much more cost-effective than treating diseases in the future.
More than half of adults in the European Union are now overweight, and 17% are obese. Obesity rates have doubled since 1990 in many European countries, and now range from 8% in Romania and Switzerland to over 25% in Hungary and the United Kingdom. Obesity and smoking are the major risk factors for heart disease and stroke which accounted for over one-third (36%) of all deaths across EU countries in 2010.
The OECD and European Commission’s Health at a Glance: Europe 2012 presents key indicators of health status, determinants of health, health care resources and activities, quality of care, health expenditure and financing in 35 European countries, including the 27 EU member states, 5 candidate countries and 3 EFTA countries.
Other findings from the report include:
For further details see the electronic version of the report which is available at:
For more information:
Mark Pearson (+33 1 45 24 92 69 or email@example.com), OECD Health Division
Gaétan Lafortune (+33 1 45 24 92 67 or firstname.lastname@example.org), OECD Health Division