Among the themes included in the national health plan are environmental health, the shift to ambulatory care, health data, innovation and the financial framework of the healthcare system.  Archive photo: Nader Ghavami

Among the themes included in the national health plan are environmental health, the shift to ambulatory care, health data, innovation and the financial framework of the healthcare system.  Archive photo: Nader Ghavami

On 28 June, Luxembourg’s health minister Paulette Lenert (LSAP) and social security minister Claude Haagen (LSAP) presented the national health plan. The plan, which has 12 strategic priorities, aims to improve the state of health of the population, the care pathway for patients and the general operating framework of the healthcare system.

According to Gesondheetsdësch, a platform for participatory exchange on the healthcare system, the average number of years lived in good health in Luxembourg is 62.6 years. This is below the European average of 64.6 years. There are also a number of problems with the way the healthcare system operates, such as the attractiveness of the profession.

In an attempt to find solutions to these and other problems, the National Health Plan (NHP)--presented on Wednesday by deputy prime minister, minister for health and minister delegate for social security, (LSAP), and the minister for social security, (LSAP)--sets out 12 strategic priorities for the coming years, built around three areas for improvement.

While the NHP is primarily aimed at healthcare professionals and establishments, government departments and decision-makers in the field, it is “also intended for the general public, with the aim of making it easier to understand the direction the country wishes to take its healthcare system,” said a press release.

Improving the health of the population

To achieve this first objective, the NHP focuses on health promotion, prevention and communication between citizens and healthcare professionals. Concrete actions include taking environmental health into account, launching a communication campaign on how the healthcare system works, and setting up a ‘one-stop health shop.’

Improving patient care

Four strategic areas have been identified for this second aspect of the NHP. The first is strengthening the role of primary care, which will involve “consistent implementation of the concept of the referring doctor,” a study of the involvement of pharmacists at this stage of care and better access for infants, children and adolescents to specific consultations.

Next, the aim is to develop integrated care strategies and pathways for the most common diseases. The NHP targets cardiovascular diseases, cancers, certain mental and psychiatric illnesses, and neurodegenerative diseases.

Finally, the ambition will also be to carry out a critical evaluation of the relevance and quality of patient care, and to encourage the shift to ambulatory care. On this last point, the NHP wants to create sites dedicated exclusively to the care of outpatients, strengthen the role of GP surgeries and assess the feasibility of home hospitalisation for patients.

Improving the general operating framework of the healthcare system

It is with this objective in mind that the NHP sets out the largest number of strategic priorities and actions, including the major issue of digitisation. The first aim of the plan is to improve the collection, analysis and use of healthcare data. It then calls for the application of a national eHealth strategy, the introduction of a single integrated IT system for the hospital (and even extra-hospital) sector and governance for digital health. It also wants to create a “national health innovation platform” and an evaluation process for digital health applications, with the aim of promoting innovation in the sector.

The final strategic orientations of the NHP relate more to the practical operation of the healthcare system. The aim will be to guarantee the availability of professionals in the sector by improving the attractiveness of these professions, through training tailored to their needs and by enhancing the value of their work. To centralise the governance and planning of the healthcare system as a whole, a new health map will be drawn up to provide a detailed overview of the hospital sector.

The twelfth and final axis of the plan aims to adjust the financial framework of the healthcare system. To this end, a strategic plan for adapting funding will be drawn up, in particular to encourage innovation and subsidise prevention. Finally, a health investment plan will be developed.

This story was first published in French on . It has been translated and edited for Delano.