Cardiovascular Policy in Europe—Principles
Friday, 14 November 2008 06:16
As seen in the ‘Policy Spotlight' pages, there is a clear call across Europe for action on cardiovascular disease:
- The European Parliament, through its 2007 Resolution, encourages governments in the EU to act to fight against CVD, such as through “including standard guidelines for best practice to identify high-risk individuals.”
- European citizens, patients and doctors are invited to use the Heart Health Charter—developed and launched with the support of the World Health Organisation, the European Commission, together with the European Society of Cardiology, the European Heart Network and their country affiliates—in order to push for priority to be given to action on CVD.
- From a medical perspective, the European Society of Cardiology's 2007 Prevention Guidelines aim to provide doctors with advice and tools to help improve CVD prevention and risk assessment.
These actions now need to be supported by authorities across Europe, such as those responsible for national health care policies and budget setting. Their actions will build on the foundations already made in tackling cardiovascular disease.
We have set out below some key policy principles for appropriate cardiovascular health management, including appropriate prevention, screening, treatments and therapies. Policies from governments should:
- Aim for realistic targets for individual patients' health, rather than total population-based standards.
- Manage and treat patients as unique individuals rather than as statistics, averages, or demographic groups.
- Respect the professional judgment of the physician, who, partnering with the patient, knows what best fits the patient's history and medical needs.
- Be regularly reviewed in order to modify or reverse earlier decisions that conflict with the best interests of patients.
- Ensure that short-term cost savings do not come at the cost of long-term chronic disease or extended and costly treatment and hospitalization.
- Encourage those in charge of health budgets to advance treatment that is best for the patient, particularly in the critical area of cardiovascular disease.
- Aim to invest in primary and secondary prevention, which has a clear effect on decreasing mortality and the economic burden of CVD on European society.
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