HealthQuest – Quality in and Equality of Access to Healthcare Services

This twelve month project was led by EHMA with the scientific direction of the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research. The project was financed by the European Commission, Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities.

Even in European health care systems that in principle grant universal, or near universal rights to health care, barriers to access for a significant number of individuals still exist. This can be the case for person on social assistance benefits or be due to language or cultural barriers. Low educational status, for example, often results in lack of knowledge and information on basic rights and the ways of access to health care. For others, barriers of access to health care is one of the multiple facets of their overall thread of social exclusion as is the case for drug addicts or homeless people.


  • To identify and analyse barriers to access to health care services which are faced by vulnerable groups in society, and especially those most exposed to social exclusion;
  • To examine the barriers that stem from health service supply as well as from the demand side;
  • To explore the extent to which the organisation of healthcare systems ease or reinforce such barriers, particularly on the demand side;
  • To review the various policy initiatives taken by the Member States to realise the objective of access for all;
  • To highlight and describe the most effective policy measures to ensure access to health care to the most disadvantaged;
  • To help to determine the extent to which increased access to and quality of health care services can make to combating poverty and social exclusion and increasing social inclusion.
  • Using one particular vulnerable group (those suffering mental illness) develop an in-depth analysis bringing together the interplay of different dimensions of health problems, barriers, and risk of social exclusion, and illustrating the impact of the conclusions reached during the project.

To access the final report click here
To access the executive summary click here
To access the country reports click here: England | Finland | Germany | Greece | Poland | Romania | Spain | The Netherlands

This page and the publications contained herein only reflects the author’s views. The European Union is not liable for any use that might be made of the information contained in this page and publications.

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