a meeting about the access to health and medical care in Europe

On the 21-11-2014, a meeting was organized in Paris about the access to health and medical care in Europe.

What are the stakes,how medical care,social service and users work together?

This day was set up by the European  Association to promote rights and  support disavantaged people.Three countries France,Belgium and Portugal compared their experience with reference to WHO,s Health  definition.

The three countries aim same objectives: a global policy to try to supply at the same level,for all people,health services to care and to educate.They note a more and more important role of the Hospital,with ambulatory services and programs to prevent long and expensive daseases(mental desease,diabete….).Public and private services are working at local, regional and national level with common aims Life expectancy in the” three countries is good compared to the other european countries .France gets life expectancy of 82 years and had a morbidity rate less good than the neighbouring countries. Unemployment affects the three countries with different damage.

In the thtree countries Social Workers  play an important role and every national  Association represents professionals and is IFSW membership.

Some Dfferences

Belgium has a better economic context than France and Potugal,so,hospitals,health centers  and social services are distributed according to the surface.Mutual insurance protect every people(even “without papers”) and is fund by regional and general government.Population is satisfied with that health system and individual share is calculated from the income.But nevertheless, difficulties concern people who cannot afford to spend  for adapted care because they have to pay verey high rents for example.Now, the three communauties of this State are looking for some cohesion between them.

Belgiam social workers Association plays  an important role in the European network ESAN and is  a member of ISFW  and European platform.

France has a good health system but great disparities exist according to the areas or social status of users.Hospital is in the center.Prevention has to improve and health expenses reach a very high level ( 3° country in the world).People who don’t benefit medical insurance or get a very low income can be cared  in the hospital where PASS, health center , assures medical care(diagnostic,care and treatment) and social help with voluntaries like “Médecins du Monde” that set up 171 national programs in 15 countries in Europe.In 2013, 95% of people they met were foreigners and twice more patients arrived from Middle East.In 2009,a law HPST(hospital,patient,health,area)decentralized regional agencies and link hospital and medical sector.Paris, for example,improves prevention,funds associations, workshops, helps young doctors to settle, and will provide in 2015 a general meeting about mother and child welfare.Social work in the hospital is important and complete social work on the ground.So social worker in palliative care service takes charge of the patient with the family in a multidisciplinary way accompagning up to death and protecting vulnerable people.

In spite of a difficult context,France influences social welfare in Europe and all over the world to set up a social security at a minimal level at least.Caritative organisations like ATD quart monde work efficiently  with their users:a mutual insurance was negociated to pay back the expenses not allowed  by Social Security and also Funeral what is very well appreciated by the users.Besides,Association Seguin develops a sponsorship for adult handicaped.

Portugal since 1971 put forward a national health service so as France that tries since 1970, for coordinating public and private hospitals.Health Service is general and free since 1979.Welfare is a constitutionnaal right.Social workers get an important role,making propossals and evaluating medical and social policies,specially when economic crisis cuts security benefits,reduces salaries and increases contributing duration to benefit retirement allowance.

Conclusion:This meeting emphasized social work to keep with trained  professionals but also exemples of voluntary  work to extend .France is grateful to french speakers.Many thanks to Cristina Martins European IFSW president and Liliane Cocozza ESAN president who represented Portugal and Belgiam.

So at the end,remember European Council definition of social cohesion (novembre 2011)”How Society is able to ensure welfare to all,enclosing next generations,with  different partners working altogether.