Access to healthcare

Access to healthcare

Access to healthcare is a concept which measures the capacity of the health system to reach the population without excluding part of it from receiving healthcare services. Ensuring a high degree of access to healthcare improves people’s overall health status, prolongs life expectancy and decreases health inequalities.

While most EU countries are committed to provide universal access to healthcare for their citizens, various social groups often experiencing difficulties in accessing the care they need. Multiple factors can influence this, such as the lack of healthcare coverage, the distance from healthcare facilities, the price and quality of medicines, as well as the presence of healthcare staff with the right skills.

In particular, vulnerable groups in the population, such as migrants, people with low health literacy, low-income people, ethnic minorities, and people living in remote areas, experience systematic barriers which prevent them from accessing healthcare services. Consequently, limited accessibility to healthcare not only negatively affects people's quality of life and health outcomes, but also causes socio-economic inequalities.