World Kidney Day: EU member states should coordinate national health policies

While healthcare policies are a national competence, the EU also has a role to play, says Aldo Patriciello.

By Aldo Patriciello

10 Mar 2016

Every effort to improve people's health must be supported. As a member of the informal MEP group for kidney health, increasing the focus on a topic as important as this is one of my main goals.

In Europe, ten per cent of the population is affected by chronic kidney disease. Around 70 million Europeans have lost some of their kidney function and seriously run the risk of becoming dependent on renal replacement therapies.

This is also a challenge for national health systems, given that the annual costs incurred for a dialysis patient in Europe are estimated at €80,000.


Although national healthcare policies are the competence of EU member states, I think it is important for the European Union to work on these issues to more effectively tackle the problems of kidney failure.

One of the most important aspects is undoubtedly improving prevention and early detection.

Sharing best practice, supporting scientific research and creating of centres of excellence for the treatment of kidney diseases, are certainly important elements from this point of view.

However, more is required. We need, for example, new policies that support actions at EU level that extend and improve the lives of patients with this disease and to reduce the impact of the condition on healthcare systems.

Due to differences in donor legislation, access to transplants varies greatly between member states. This is why we need greater integration in this field.

Health is one of the things that matter most to citizens. Ensuring better access to healthcare means improving the quality of life of European citizens.


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