The escalating cost of healthcare is a problem common to all EU countries and national governments are looking at different ways to tackle this. There is often anxiety that managing costs will mean healthcare becomes more dangerous or risky - however this does not have to be the case.
A network of healthcare stakeholders from 24 EU countries has been set up to develop ways of containing costs whilst maintaining, or even improving, the quality of healthcare. PenCLAHRC’s Professor Nicky Britten is one of just two UK representatives on the Action’s Management Committee, whilst Dr Helen Lloyd and Dr Mark Pearson are Working Group members.
Known as a ‘COST Action’, this trans-European network brings together clinicians, hospital managers and academics from multiple disciplines to share their knowledge and expertise through workshops, training schools, conferences and exchange visits between institutions. These activities will be funded by the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) for four years.
The PenCLAHRC team aim to share their expertise in person centred care, realist evaluation, Patient and Public Involvement and collaborative working. As well as building connections with international colleagues, being involved will help them to develop their own practice.
Professor Britten said:
“Rising costs are one of the most difficult problems we face in healthcare today, so the Action members are pooling knowledge and resources to explore potential solutions. Talking to people from countries where health services are run very differently can help you see your own system more clearly.”
Members of the network plan to combine their resources to create Exploratory Health System Labs – healthcare systems contained within a small geographical area, which will prototype and develop new initiatives across seven themes: person-centred care, prevention, contracting strategies, incentive systems, infrastructure, quality measures and information technology. This strategy builds on a ‘roadmap’ agenda developed by Professor Inger Ekman from the University of Gothenburg, who leads the Action.