Vojvodina (SRB), 27 March 2006
“Our goal today is to find innovative solutions that create efficient health and social services at the regional level” stated Stig-Erik Westmark, President of the Committee for Social Cohesion, Social Services and Public Health of the Assembly of European Regions (AER) and County Councillor of Västmanland-S, at the AER meeting in the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina-SCG.
In his welcoming speech, Bojan Kostres, President of the Assembly of AP Vojvodina, underlined “the importance for our Region of sharing experiences with AER members. We want to learn about some good practices related to improving the well-being of our citizens that we could implement in our Province”.
Private Public Partnerships were at the heart of the discussions. Over 100 participants from 35 regions from 15 States debated the important issue of whether PPP can be a relevant alternative for improving health and social life for European citizens. Of course, the private sector do not have to replace public services, but companies may support the process and thereby create a Win-Win situation. The AER ‘Health & Social’ Committee is now mandated to pursue and to deepen the work on this field.
The participants also evaluated the possibility of using voluntary work at regional level in health and social affairs. Voluntary work should not be developed without certain safeguards – for example a clear legal framework – but the AER will further check the good examples from its member Regions and analyse how and in which areas seniors citizens are still willing to be active and can contribute to citizens welfare. “The regional level is the best to be a laboratory for bringing together NGOs, seniors and the needs of the society on social services. We believe that voluntary work may help to solve some problems, but it cannot be the solution to the problems” concluded Stig-Erik Westmark.
The AER will pursue the development of innovative solutions for the organisation and provision of health services. The next step will be a conference on e-health to be held on 9th-10th June in Norrbotten-S, entitled ‘New tools for the delivery of services, for sharing patient information and for preventive measures’. A thematic Dossier on ‘e-health’, showing best practices in the European regions, will also be provided.
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