Future of the European health systems is discussed in Vilnius

On 19 November 2013, a conference of the Health Forum „Sustainable Health Systems for Inclusive Growth in Europe“ started in Vilnius as an event under the auspices of the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The main topic of the conference is the economic value created by the health sector.


“To believe that only the health care system is responsible for the population health is an obsolete attitude. Scientific research has already proved that the focus on economic and social determinants definitely contributes to better population health and the greater sustainability of health systems. Emphasizing the best European practice, the conference will pay special attention to this great untapped potential to improve health,” said the Professor Vilius Grabauskas, the President of the Health Forum and the Chancellor of the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences.

After the opening speech, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Lithuania Algirdas Butkevičius delivered his welcoming speech to the participants and guests of the conference. After that, an intensive work started; it will last for two days and will end with the adoption of a common declaration, which will be presented to the participants of the Council for Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs. (December 9, 2013).


The opening working session of the conference is called “Sustainable Health Systems: Visions and Strategies”. It is chaired by Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis, the Minister of Health of the Republic of Lithuania, and Dr Josep Figueras, the Director of the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies.

“Sustainability and effectiveness of health systems are among the most important priorities of the Lithuanian Presidency. The conference will discuss health in a very broad context: about the general impact of health on economies of separate countries as well as on the European economy as a whole. Many reports and discussions will emphasize that funds allocated for health is not just expenditure but also an investment into the better quality of life, human capital and the future economy. If we lack people who are healthy, active and able to work, any other investment will bring little benefit,” said V.P. Andriukaitis, the Minister of Health. According to him, the same truth applies to Lithuania.

This session will focus on the ways to ensure sustainability of health systems. It will discuss core values of health systems: universality, equitable access to high quality health care services, equity and solidarity. It will also stress the necessity to use available financial resources more effectively and the importance of evidence-based health policy making.

The speech “Impact of Austerity on Health Systems” will be given by Zsuzsanna Jakab, the Regional Director of the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Europe.

Later today, Session II “Sustainable Economic Growth Through Better Health” will highlight the importance of the health sector to the economy of the whole Europe and bring successful examples of investment in the health sector. Also, the importance of human capital to the economic growth will be highlighted.

Later, these topics will be discussed interactively in two parallel sessions: “Health as Human Capital” and “Practical Options for Finance Reform in Health Care”.


In the evening part of the conference, a review of the Lithuanian health system and the publications “Health studies Lithuania 2013: Health Sector Development and Its Impact on National Economy” and „Health, Health Systems and Economic Crisis in Europe: Impact and Policy Implications“ will be presented.

The conference will continue working on Wednesday.

The conference is organized by the Health Forum in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Lithuania and with European non-governmental organizations: the European Public Health Alliance, the European Patient Forum and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations.


More information:

Vaida Samuolytė

Tel. +370 682 43660