Chronic diseases, one of the priorities of the European Commission’s Health Work Programme for 2016


On the 1st of March, the European Commission published the 2016 Annual Work Plan under EU Health Programme 2014-2020, in which Chronic Diseases are amongst the key priorities. EKHA welcomes the European Commission’s approach and action to address the diseases.

The Work Plan includes two dedicated major actions, to which €7,500,000 Commission funding have been allocated. These actions outline the need to take a comprehensive approach and set ambitious targets, especially developing better prevention actions, better care pathways to yield better health and QoL outcomes (keeping patients in work/school/out of hospital longer), better performance and cost efficiency in the health systems.

Action “Support to Member States and Stakeholders to address the chronic disease challenge to identify and address key elements with a potential to reduce the burden of major chronic diseases and increase the sustainability of health systems”.

The action builds on the following objectives:

1) Identify, develop and put into practice evidence-based measures to prevent and manage chronic diseases, also by addressing the major common risks factors (smoking, alcohol abuse, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and others) with a focus on:

Early detection of major diseases and adequate timely intervention with a focus on inter-sectoral and cross cutting interventions;

• Identification of needs and opportunities for disease prevention and targeted intervention for most vulnerable groups;

• Effective means to facilitate access and retain chronic disease patients in the labour market and their home environment;

• Enhancement of community care for better chronic disease prevention and management;

• Elements for more effective management of multi-morbidity;

• Identification or development and implementation of integrated patient and care pathways; and

• Health Technology Assessment (HTA) for best interventions;

2) Strengthen the evidence-base for a response to prevent and manage chronic diseases through improved health information and health intelligence by expanding data for monitoring and assessment of policies and health related actions; and improving the health literacy through better access and availability of health related information for most vulnerable groups.

The action will be awarded through individual project grants with a €2,500,000 total allocated budget

Action “Joint Action on Chronic Diseases” (to complement the work of

This Joint Action will be carried out and co-financed with Member State authorities to ensure practical implementation of the programmes after the action’s conclusions, with a total €5,000,000 allocated budget. The focus will be on tangible activities with a potential to trigger chronic disease policies in Member States and improve health outcomes. This action will support Member States in developing and refining national plans and strategies to address chronic diseases and will facilitate and intensify the exchange of good practices and knowledge in prevention and management of chronic diseases.

Pilot actions should focus on areas which include:

• Integrated approaches in screening and early detection of preventable diseases;

• Integrated approaches to address the main common risks factors (smoking, alcohol abuse, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and others) as to strengthen prevention across health and social care services;

• Approaches to overcome health system silos towards a better integration of prevention and health care;

• Approaches to address multi-morbidity and polypharmacy effectively through evidence-based interventions;

• Identification of essential elements for national chronic disease strategies, including communication elements

• Timely integration of research findings for prevention and management of chronic diseases.