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European journal of public health ; 32(Suppl 3), 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-2102017


Children's health status varies within and between European countries. To what extent this is associated with access barriers to timely and effective care children may face is not yet fully understood. Article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) guarantees a fundamental right to healthcare for all children, regardless of their legal status in terms of citizenship, residence, or insurance. Using information contained in the Health Systems in Transition reports produced by the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, additional relevant literature, and responses to a structured questionnaire filled out by key informants from all 27 EU MS and the United Kingdom, we evaluated whether European countries comply with the specific obligations that can be drawn from the UNCRC. While all countries considered have ratified the UNCRC, only four countries have included a specific disposition in their legislation that establishes an unconditional, universal right to health services for all children living in their territory. In other countries, the fragmented way of defining children's access rights can create gaps in legislation which can leave certain groups of children without coverage. Children with irregular residence are the most vulnerable group when it comes to eligibility problems, but other groups of children may also fall between the cracks or be only entitled to restrict-ed or conditional access to health care. These insights show that international treaties, such as the UNCRC, can help monitor health coverage and ensure that basic human rights to health services are guaranteed in times of crisis, such as the Covid-19 pandemic and the Ukraine Displacement, but may be insufficient without concrete transposition into national legislative frameworks.

European Journal of Public Health ; 31:2, 2021.
Article in English | Web of Science | ID: covidwho-1610559
European Journal of Public Health ; 31, 2021.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-1514812


At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, health care providers had to abruptly change their way of providing care in order to simultaneously plan for and manage a rise of COVID-19 cases while maintaining essential health services. Even the most well-resourced health systems faced pressures from new challenges brought on by COVID-19, and every country had to make difficult choices about how to maintain access to essential care while treating a novel communicable disease. Using the information available on the HSRM platform from the early phases of the pandemic, we analyze how countries planned services for potential surge capacity, designed patient flows ensuring separation between COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients, and maintained routine services in both hospital and outpatient settings. Many country responses displayed striking similarities despite very real differences in the organization of health and care services. These include transitioning the management of COVID-19 mild cases from hospitals to outpatient settings, increasing the use of remote consultations, and cancelling or postponing non-urgent services during the height of the first wave. In the immediate future, countries will have to continue balancing care for COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients to minimize adverse health outcomes, ideally with supporting guidelines and COVID-19-specific care zones. Many countries expect to operate at lower capacity for routinely provided care, which will impact patient access and waiting times. Looking forward, policymakers will have to consider whether strategies adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic will become permanent features of care provision.

Eurohealth ; 26(2):40-44, 2020.
Article in English | GIM | ID: covidwho-958751


Contact tracing is an essential tool to support the transition back to normal life during the COVID-19 pandemic. This article explores how 31 countries operate contact tracing, using data extracted from the COVID-19 Health Systems Response Monitor (HSRM). Two main approaches emerge: centralised (led by one national agency) and decentralised (at regional/district level). In most cases, trained staff conduct phone interviews, and many countries have moved to strengthen the capacity of tracing teams. Further, contact tracing apps are being developed and implemented, although some difficulties related to privacy concerns have arisen, necessitating more transparency on how data are collected.

Eurohealth ; 26(2):68-72, 2020.
Article in English | GIM | ID: covidwho-942065


During the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals face the concurrent challenges of maintaining routine services while attending to COVID-19 patients. This article shares approaches taken in six countries to resume hospital care after the first wave of the pandemic by surveying country experts and using data extracted from the COVID-19 Health Systems Response Monitor (HSRM). Four strategies were observed in all six countries: prioritisation or rationing of treatments, converting clinical spaces to separate patients, using virtual treatments, and implementing COVID-19 free hospitals or floors. Clear guidance about how to prioritise activities would support hospitals in the next phases of the pandemic.

Eurohealth ; 26(2):83-87, 2020.
Article in English | GIM | ID: covidwho-942063


COVID-19 has affected the incomes of some health professionals by reducing demand for care and increasing expenditures for treatment preparedness. In a survey of 14 European countries, we found that most countries have incentivised substitutive e-health services to avoid loss of income. Health professionals have also received financial compensation for loss of income either through initiatives specifically designed for the health sector or general self-employment schemes, and have either been reimbursed for extra COVID-19-related expenditures such as personal protective equipment (PPE) or had these provided in kind. Compensation is generally funded from health budgets, complemented by emergency funding from government revenue.