Wide Variations in Health Care Seen Across Europe

Regionwide legislation to unify standard of care unrealistic

FRIDAY, April 25 (HealthDay News) -- The wide diversity of health care provision in European countries makes any regionwide legislation mandating a unified approach unfeasible, and quality of care across countries will likely be ensured through more informal mechanisms, according to an article published in the April 26 issue of the BMJ.

Helena Legido-Quigley, M.Sc.N., of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the United Kingdom and colleagues assessed evidence from two major pan-European studies, one on enhancing patient mobility in Europe and another comparing different countries' quality strategies.

Although some aspects of health care are coordinated at a Europewide level, such as centralized systems for some drugs and harmonization of professional education standards, health care system quality, organizations and clinical processes lack coordination. There is wide variation across Europe in terms of progress in coordinating health care provision, and most efforts are on an individual basis and don't have an impact on the majority of health care professionals.

"The delivery of healthcare is a national responsibility -- but, in a Europe characterized by free movement, national governments and other stakeholders must take account of the wider European context in health policy-making and planning," the authors write. " Europe-wide legislation to mandate a single approach to quality of care is not a realistic possibility in the near future."

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