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Evaluation of the Health Programme

Overall the evaluators considered that the programme has valid and appropriate objectives, however some question marks remain.

The third Health Programme (3HP) is the Commission’s main vehicle for supporting policy coordination in health. It has a budget of €449.4m for the 2014-2020 funding period.

3HP action is organised around four specific and operational objectives that are broken down into 23 thematic priorities. These are focusing on areas where the potential to generate EU added value is greatest.

Evaluators looked at thematic priority structure, multi-annual planning process, efforts to increase participation among organisations from poorer Member States (MS), so called ‘exceptional utility’ criteria and the consideration of EU added value in funding applications.

Overall, it was found that 3HP made major improvements, the new structure increased the HP’s ability to target important health needs where EU can add value (i.e. anti-microbial resistance and e-Health)

While assessing the HP Member States representatives felt that the 3HP structure matches the main health challenges in their country.

Evaluators praised collaboration and progress in areas such as: handling of the migrant crisis, cross border health care, health technology assessment, substances of human origin, medical devices, European Reference Networks, Health Technology Assessment.

Main recommendations:

¨ Maintain focus on thematic areas of strong EU added value

¨ DG SANTE should strengthen and build links between the HP and the wider policy agenda to maximise impact

¨ Spell out how actions targeting health promotion and health systems should generate EU added value

¨ Refine the thematic priorities as part of the continuing effort to focus programme spending

¨ Refine the EU added value and fully integrate criteria into the application process

¨ Integrate multi-annual planning with existing programme processes

¨ Develop a broader strategy to increase participation from poorer Member States and underrepresented organisations

¨ Invest in the resources necessary to improve the systems for monitoring programme implementation

¨ Implement and use programmatic and action specific monitoring indicators

¨ As with previous HP, there is a need to continue to step up efforts to communicate about the HP with core stakeholders’ wider audiences

Unfortunately, alcohol is not listed and the report points out that some actions under thematic priority 1.4 on chronic diseases have too broad scope. This in the view of the evaluators leads to a risk that the HP’s resources would be spread thinly and making it difficult to generate momentum. Evaluators are suggesting to better define thematic priorities, to focus attention on actions which address pressing issues.

Evaluators marked that continued trend of using Joint Actions and moving away from projects reflects the growing maturity of the programme and serves to increase its cost-effectiveness.

This is therefore even more disappointing that the European Commission has decided last year, not to develop a follow-up to a very successful Joint Action RARHA.

Photo source: © European Union , 2010 / Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: Jennifer Jacquemart