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Health at a Glance: Europe 2022

State of Health in the EU Cycle

image of Health at a Glance: Europe 2022

The 2022 edition of Health at a Glance: Europe examines the key challenges European countries must address to develop stronger, more resilient health systems following the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. It includes a special focus on how the pandemic has affected young people’s mental and physical health. The report emphasises the need for additional measures to prevent the COVID-19 pandemic from scarring a generation of young people. This edition of Health at a Glance: Europe also assesses the pandemic’s disruption of a wide range of health services for non-COVID patients, as well as the policy responses European countries deployed to minimise the adverse consequences of these disruptions. It also addresses a number of important behavioural and environmental risk factors that have a major impact on people’s health and mortality, highlighting the need to put a greater focus on the prevention of both communicable and non-communicable diseases.

English

Dealing with backlogs: Disruptions in non-COVID care during the pandemic

This chapter reviews the impact of the COVID‑19 crisis in disrupting care for non-COVID patients, focusing on primary care, mental health care, cancer care, chronic care and elective surgery during the first year of the pandemic. While the rapid development of teleconsultations played an important role in maintaining continuity of care, disruptions in cancer screening programmes resulted in delays in diagnoses and led to increased number of cancer patients diagnosed at later stages. The pandemic also impacted the mental health of EU citizens, disproportionately affecting young people, women and the unemployed. One in five EU citizens reported unmet mental health care needs in 2021 and 2022. The suspension of activities during the first year of the pandemic resulted in one in six elective surgery being missed. Many countries provided additional funding to address the backlog of patients, but the biggest constraint to increasing surgical activities has been workforce availability. This chapter draws lessons from the pandemic to build more resilient health systems.

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