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Hospitals in the European Union: the book


23 Apr 2009


Health & Consumers

For the past years, European Union Member States have been facing the same issue - the need to provide quality health care, tailored to the needs of the population and accessible to all, in a context of limited public resources. The hospital sector obviously plays a key role in patient care, training of health professionals, and research.

Knowledge on hospitals is sparse and spread in different sources. HOPE and DEXIA decided several years ago to work together to give a comprehensive picture of the hospitals in the European Union. The result of this work is now available with a book “Hospitals in the 27 Members States of the European Union.”

This book studies the major changes in the hospital sector using a cross-sectional analysis of 27 national health systems. The analysis is structured to illustrate common trends in hospital systems over the past years, while showing their diversity from country to country in terms of the distribution of powers, funding for hospital operations and investments, status, organisation of care, etc.

The work is structured in four chapters. Chapter 1 provides a brief presentation of the major health issues facing EU Member States today, as well as the organisation of their health systems. The report gives a sense of the important diversity with two major trends: a continuous balancing act between decentralisation and centralisation; a push to increase hospital autonomy.

The way hospitals are organised is surrounded by a lot of prejudices. Chapter 2 deals with the different forms of governance of hospitals and shows that the situation is more complex than the usual public/private dichotomy usually presented.

The scope and timing of hospital re-engineering organisation vary widely from one Member State to another, depending mainly on historical and political background but some convergence is visible. Chapter 3 gives a clear picture of the changes taking place in hospital care itself.

EU influence is growing considerably and will probably play a role in the convergence in the hospital field. Chapter 4 discusses this influence on health matters, particularly in the hospital sector.

The Book is available on:

Contact for further information:
HOPE Central Office
Pascal Garel
Tel: +32 (0)2 742 13 20


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