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EU Health Ministers

Smoke free environments and childhood obesity as top priorities of the informal meeting

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In advance of welcoming his European counterparts to Dublin, Minister Reilly said “2013 is a landmark year for Ireland, marking the 40th anniversary of our accession to the then European Economic Community. Much has changed since then and European citizens face different challenges. I would like to use the opportunity the Informal Meeting presents to explore some of these challenges and look at what we, as Health Ministers, can do to improve the health and wellbeing of our citizens”.

Smoke free environments

As 700,000 EU citizens die each year of smoking related disease, a key interest on the agenda will be a report by the European Commission on the implementation of Council recommendations on Smoke Free Environments.

Ministers will discuss their experiences of the implementation of the recommendation and identify what further action can be taken to promote and advance smoke free environments.

Ministers will discuss their experiences of the implementation of the recommendation and identify what further action can be taken to promote and advance smoke free environments.

Childhood Obesity

Minister Reilly will also be joined by Minister Frances FitzGerald, Ireland’s first Minister for Children & Youth Affairs, for a discussion on the issue of childhood obesity, a major public health challenge for Europe. 30% of children are overweight or obese in most EU Member States. In Ireland, the recent Growing Up in Ireland survey found that 1 in 4 children as young as 3 years of age are overweight or obese.

Impact of the economic crisis on health systems

Ministers will also examine the impact of the economic crisis on health systems and the extent to which they, and their Governments, can avoid the negative effects of the crisis on the health of their citizens. They will also discuss potential options and opportunities for Member States to drive efficiency and achieve savings in health budgets in a way that minimises the impact on quality of, and access to, care.

Other issues

Other issues on the agenda include best practice and information sharing in relation to services for children with complex developmental needs, in particular autism. In addition, the European Commission will present a report on the implementation to date of Council Recommendations on Patient Safety including Health Care Associated Infections. This will afford an opportunity for Ministers to discuss how they can ensure that patient safety remains a priority in health policies.

Of interest

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