An overview of how auditors across the European Union scrutinise public health has been published today by the European Court of Auditors (ECA) on behalf of the Contact Committee of EU supreme audit institutions (SAIs). Altogether 24 SAIs have contributed to this second Audit Compendium of the Contact Committee.
Public health is mainly the responsibility of the Member States, resulting in considerable differences between health systems. The EU supports efforts at national level with a specific focus on complementing or coordinating the Member States’ actions. Over the last few decades, national health systems have been facing numerous challenges, such as ever-rising costs, ageing populations, or patients as well as healthcare professionals becoming more and more mobile.
“Public health requires coordinated efforts between the EU and its Member States, and the topic will undoubtedly continue to command a prominent place on the political agenda for generations to come“, said the President of the European Court of Auditors, Klaus-Heiner Lehne. ”It is therefore essential to raise awareness of recent audit findings across the EU.”
The Compendium provides some background information on public health, its legal bases, main objectives and related responsibilities at Member State and EU levels. The Compendium also illustrates the main challenges the EU and its Member States are facing in this field. Public health is a complex area to audit. Nevertheless, the large number of audits carried out in recent years reflects the great significance of this domain for EU citizens.
The Compendium draws on recent results of audits carried out by the ECA and the SAIs of 23 EU Member States: Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia and Finland. These audits addressed important performance aspects and scrutinised different public health issues, such as prevention and protection, access to and quality of health services, the use of new technologies and eHealth, as well as the fiscal sustainability of public health services.