EU Call to Action

With Europe’s rapidly ageing population comes a greater increase in age-related conditions, such as structural heart disease. Most structural heart diseases can be treated, enabling people to continue contribute to society, the wider economy, and live actively and healthily. 

Equal access to diagnosis, treatment and care of age-related diseases such are SHD are instrumental to achieve the objectives, but evidence confirms that institutionalized age discrimination, or ageism, often act as a barrier. Ageism can go from not recognizing and detecting structural heart disease, to not treating the disease, or – at its worst - leading to devaluing the lives of older citizens.

You can download the latest report on barriers into the detection, treatment and care of structural heart diseases here. The executive summaries are also available in FrenchGerman, Italian and Spanish.


Our Calls to Action directed at political decision-makers in Europe

The Coalition is calling on the EU Commission and Member States to drive an EU Joint Action funded by EU4Health to promote:

The introduction of EU guidelines and national action plans for heart health checks to improve early detection of Structural Heart Diseases (SHD), improve quality of life and reduce mortality rates.
The development of an EU patient registry on SHDs, to identify the unmet needs and inequalities across EU Member States.
Further research into the impact of barriers to the detection of age-related heart diseases such as ageism or gender inequalities.
Improved awareness of age-related heart diseases such as SHD among the general population care-givers and medical professionals.

Manifesto by Brando Benifei MEP outlining the need to address SHD.

April 2019

Joint letter from Brando Benifei MEP and Maria de Graça Carvalho MEP calling for an EU Joint Action.

September 2020

European Commission’s response to the MEPs letter  which acknowledges the need for an EU Joint Action on SHD.

October 2020

SHD Coalition Response to Public Consultation Green Paper on Ageing Response.

July 2021

EU SHD Coalition Proposal for an EU Joint Action on Structural Heart Diseases under the 2022 EU4Health Work Programme 

* Joint Actions are a type of funding instrument that came about under the third EU Health Programme 2014-2020. They encourage and support cooperation between Member States to improve the health policies that benefit their citizens. 

Joint Actions are mechanisms of cooperation which allow a ‘competent authority’ to participate in the achievement of its goal. A competent authority is a Member State’s or participating country’s authority responsible for health or a specific health topic, or any other authority on which that competence has been conferred. In light of the additional recognition for civil-society participation, competent authorities are tasked with identifying and selecting civil society organisations active at EU level that can make the most valuable contribution to the action. Nominated organisations will be invited to join the action as collaborating partners and/or participate in advisory structure.