On September 10, 2021, DG SANTE convened a workshop to present the results of the targeted stakeholder consultation on the EU4Health Work Programme 2022 and to gain further insights from the participants. The Unit presented the state of affairs of the ongoing implementation of the Work Programme 2021 (WP2021) and gave an overview of the priorities, strategic orientations and budget of the Work Programme 2022 (WP2022).
The WP2021 was designed along four strands of actions including crisis preparedness, disease prevention, health systems and healthcare workforce, and digital, with cancer as a transversal action. At present, the first call for action grants has been published and the first wave of Member States (MS) nominations finalised.
With an estimated budget of €764 million, the WP2022 will focus on disease prevention and health promotion as the most urgent needs to be addressed in 2022 and beyond. The stakeholders attending the meeting emphasised the need to promote life-long health by putting in place healthy and safe urban, work and social environments, enabling healthy life choices and taking into account the needs of vulnerable groups at every stage of their life.
Digital transformation of healthcare was another crucial priority for the stakeholder pool. The discussion focused on strengthening health data collection, digital tools and services, including through benchmarking and capacity building.
Stakeholders also underlined the need to enhance access to healthcare by strengthening primary care and reinforcing integrated care models.
Patient organisations, civil society and individuals working in public health were the most active contributors to the consultation. Among general suggestions on the WP2022, civil society organisations asked the European Commission to restore operating grants in order to be able to support the achievement of various EU4Health’s objectives. Other suggestions included supporting the creation of international reference centres in the EU and supporting citizens’ self-care to empower them to take care of their own health.
The WP2022 is expected to be adopted at the end of 2021/beginning of 2022.