Recently, Eurofound has published a report detailing the major developments in quality of life and public services in Europe in the last years. The flagship publication provides a synthesis of the main findings on several key topics. It maps developments and perceptions regarding trust in institutions and social cohesion, access to and quality of health and care services; the impact of digitalisation on social services, access to services for young people, and measures aimed at integrating refugees.
The report builds a considerable part of its research on the uropean Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) which has, since its inception in 2003, included questions on various aspects of quality of society, notably societal tensions, social capital, institutional trust, and the quality of services that are key for the well-being of the public. Recognising the fact that the quality of people’s lives is profoundly influenced by their access to quality provision in areas such as education, health, housing and social services, the report pays particular attention to regional and social inequalities and, where possible, changes over time. Some key findings include:
- Perception of tensions in society has the most detrimental impact on trust in institutions, while perceived quality of public services is a key driver for higher trust in institutions;
- Civic participation, particularly volunteering, is associated with higher levels of trust;
- More and more flexible long-term care provision is needed. Home care and help should be made more available, especially in the half of EU Member States where income is lowest;
- Prompt access to primary healthcare, social care and long-term care can stimulate early intervention, monitoring of changing needs and prevent escalation of long-term care problems;
- Mental health issues are increasing for young people, though it is not clear whether this is due to higher incidence or better awareness and diagnosis. Mental health is closely related to other youth issues and can both be an outcome of inequalities and a source of inequality itself. Risk factors for mental health issues include disability and long-term illness, family problems, relationship problems with peers and heavy social media use.
Eurodiaconia’s members are active in Europe and provide social and healthcare services to the most vulnerable groups. The findings of this report are in line with the emerging needs of our members, which are confronted with new challenges and opportunities such as suing innovation and digitalisation to boost their long-term care services, adopt integrated approaches to end homelessness and a higher risk of marginalisation and radicalisation for the youth. These factors make it clear that sharing knowledge and good practices on this issue are fundamental in coming up with innovative solutions to these problems. Our thematic network meetings provide a space for members of our network to come together, learn and share best practices regarding the provision of social and healthcare services. Cooperation is essential in creating an equal and more just Europe, where the already growing awareness of the connection between the quality of life and public services makes inaction on these challenges inexcusable.
If you would like to read the full publication, please visit Eurofound’s website.
If you are interested in our work and would like to know more about our membership, please visit our website.