More attention to public health in the European Union — implications for dentistry?


Eeva Widström, National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health (Stakes), P.O. Box 220, 00531 Helsinki, Finland. Email:


At present the European Union is developing its competence on health and new important issues will be taken on board in European health policy. Increasing mobility of people and integration of the applicant countries puts pressure on the current health care provision systems. A mandate for an open co-ordination process in public health is expected to be given by the European Council. The process will start by exchange of information and best practice models. The next step will be the presentation of common targets between member countries, followed by national action programmes and indicators. It is likely that a lot of emphasis will be put on access to health services, comparisons of costs of health care and benchmarking the costs of items of care. In the long run this will mean convergence of the health care systems. If oral health is to be considered an integral part of general health dental professionals need to be aware of and be able to influence the actions to be taken.