Rigby, MJ (2021) European Union Child Guarantee-challenges raised by the welcome promise of free healthcare for marginalized children. European Journal of Public Health, 31 (5). pp. 943-950. ISSN 1101-1262

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BACKGROUND: Children are dependent on the way in which society provides healthcare, with primary and preventive care being initial components. They also have a generally acclaimed right to health, and to lack of impediment to access to healthcare. In a major initiative, the European Parliament has proposed a Child Guarantee to include free access to healthcare for marginalized children, and a Feasibility Study has been completed with positive results. However, there has been little analysis of national policies toward free access to healthcare for children, including longer-term treatment, mental health or adolescent health services, or of charges and indirect financial barriers to access. METHODS: Data on policies for children's access to healthcare from two recent European Community wide studies were re-analyzed and matched. Primary care, immunization, surveillance screening, minor illness, a more significant medium-term condition, and reproductive health were included. Additionally, data from a European survey of children reported as having unmet medical needs were revisited. Composite summaries relating to all 28 EU countries as of 2019 were produced. RESULTS: Only three EU-28 countries provided totally free services, though 26 countries provide free primary and preventive services. There is evidence of some children having unmet medical needs in 21 countries, with Expense being the main quoted factor. CONCLUSION: There is widespread variation across Europe in free access for children to healthcare, little comparative study of policies and their effects on enabling or hindering access, and minimal data collection. This compromises achievement of the Guarantee, and initiatives are needed.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Public Health Association. All rights reserved. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/open_access/funder_policies/chorus/standard_publication_model)
Subjects: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics > RJ101 Child Health. Child health services
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 10 Jun 2021 09:28
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2022 15:35
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/9694

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