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Wednesday, 28th November 2012

Health at a Glance Europe 2012

Source: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

From Executive Summary:

European countries have achieved major gains in population health in recent decades. Life expectancy at birth in European Union (EU) member states has increased by more than six years since 1980, to reach 79 years in 2010, while premature mortality has reduced dramatically. Over three‐quarters of these years of life can be expected to be lived free of activity limitation. Gains in life expectancy can be explained by improved living and working conditions and some health‐related behaviours, but better access to care and quality of care also deserves much credit, as shown, for instance, by sharply reduced mortality rates following a heart attack or stroke.

Many health improvements have come at considerable financial cost. Until 2009, health spending in European countries grew at a faster rate than the rest of the economy, and the health sector absorbed a growing share of the gross domestic product (GDP). Following the onset of the financial and economic crisis in 2008, many European countries reduced health spending as part of broader efforts to reign in large budgetary deficits and growing debt‐to‐GDP ratios. Although these cuts might have been unavoidable, some measures may have an impact on the fundamental goals of health systems. Continuous monitoring of data and indicators on health and health systems is therefore important; it provides indications of the potential short and longer‐term impact of changing economic circumstances and health policies on health care access, quality and health outcomes.

This second edition of "Health at a Glance: Europe" presents the most recent comparable data for selected indicators of health and health systems in 35 European countries – the 27 member states of the European Union, five candidate countries and three EFTA countries – up to 2010. The selection of indicators has been based on the European Community Health Indicators (ECHI) shortlist, a list of indicators that has been developed by the European Commission to guide the development and reporting of health statistics. In addition, the publication provides detailed information on health expenditure and financing trends, using results from the OECD, Eurostat and WHO annual joint health accounts questionnaire. It also includes a new chapter on quality of health care, reflecting the progress achieved under the OECD Health Care Quality Indicators project.

+ Direct link to document (PDF; 2.1 MB)

+ Executive Summary (PDF; 357 KB)


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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

Adrian can be reached at adrian.janes@freepint.com

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