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EU Policy Recommendations – Introduction

Proposing policy actions on self-care at EU level

“Public health is affected by almost every policy in government, and almost every policy in government could potentially be seen as more or less successful public health policy.”

(Greer 2013)


I.   Introduction


The present report presents possible routes to policy actions on self-care at EU level as well as policy recommendations aiming to give an added value in supporting the broader implementation of effective self-care. These proposals, produced by the PiSCE platform, result from two main stages of analysis (Figure 1).


Figure 1. Main stages of analysis

Following these stages of analysis, each step converges towards a management model/cycle linking the main objective, to formulate policy recommendations on self-care with added-value at EU level with the necessary actions (Figure 2).

Figure 2. The input/output model for self-care

(Adapted from: Pollitt, C., Bouckaert, G., 2004. Public management reform. A comparative analysis. The input/output model (p. 106)


I.1 Objectives and the scope of the study

The main objective of Work Package 3 is to develop concrete proposals for policy actions and collaboration at EU level on self-care, giving an added value in supporting the broader implementation of effective self-care. Cost/benefit analysis studies and the outcome of the EMPATHiE (Empowering patients in the management of chronic diseases) project are taken into account in the process.

The present report proposes EU policy recommendations on self-care that are relevant for five self-limiting conditions: athlete’s foot, cough, cold, lower urinary tract infection and heartburn. The selection of these conditions is taken from a longer list of minor ailments indicated by literature and practice. The PiSCE consortium was not involved in the study where the conditions were selected. These five conditions were discussed and validated with a primary care physician and public health experts participating in the EU tender on the Cost-benefit analysis of self-care systems in the European Union (EAHC contract N°EAHC/2013/Health/26). The selection was made by the European Commission as a part of the call for tender for the present study.

I.2 Structure of the report

The application of the public management model corresponds to the structure of the present report. Chapter II will map existing and related EU policies on self-care. They create a common ground of understanding the different speeds of development of related policies and possible links. Chapter III will present the needs of persons/patients regarding self-care and will outline the results of a survey carried out within patient and consumer representative organisations at EU level (EPF and BEUC respectively). This offers insights as to target groups, barriers to self-care, needs as well as necessary education interventions and the extent to which persons/patients would like to bear the costs of their own self-care. The final chapter, Chapter IV, offers final EU policy recommendations on self-care.


I.3 Links with the guideline on promotion of self-care (WP1) and communication (WP2)

Work Package 3 complements qualitative information collected from the survey on persons’/patients’ needs with the analysis presented in the guideline to promote self-care at national level, that is, the output of WP1. This is presented in Chapter IV. Similarly, WP3 provides recommendations regarding communication on self-care at EU level, based, at least in part, on the outputs of WP2. This is also presented in Chapter IV.