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Life expectancy continues to rise in Europe

EC report shows five-year improvement since 1990
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Life expectancy in Europe has increased by over five years since 1990, according to a report published by the European Commission and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The third edition of Health at Glance: Europe presents information on health and healthcare systems in 35 European countries including EU member states, candidate countries and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries.

It found that life expectancy continues to increase, reaching a median 79.2 years on average in 2012 - 82.2 years for women and 76.1 years for men. This is an increase of 5.1 years since 1990.

For women, life expectancy was the highest in Spain (85.5 years), while it was the highest in Sweden for men (79.9 years).

The number of healthy life years, defined as the number of years of life free of activity limitation, at age 65 in 2012 was 8.5 years for men and 8.7 years for women. The figure was greatest in the Nordic countries – Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Iceland – and in Malta, whereas the shortest was in the Slovakia for both men and women.

65-year-olds in Sweden can expect to live around three-quarters of their remaining years of life without limitations to their usual activities, while in Slovakia the figure is less than a quarter.

The report also provided data on health spending in Europe. Average health spending in the EU was 8.7% of GDP in 2012, while health spending per capita has decrease on average by 0.6% per year since 2009.

Vytenis Andriukaitis, EU commissioner for health and food safety, and Angel Gurria, secretary general of the organisation for economic co-operation and development, released a joint statement on the figures.

They said: “The countries that reduced health spending made cuts mainly to fees paid to health providers, pharmaceutical spending and health work force and salaries. However, regarding the health workforce in the EU, since 2000, the number of doctors per capita has increased in all EU countries except for France where it has remained stable, and the number of practising nurses has increased in all but two member states.”

Article by
Kirstie Pickering

8th December 2014

From: Healthcare

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