Institute of Public Finance hosted the international academic conference Public Sector Economics: Healthcare systems after the pandemic on 20 October. The conference saw experts analysing socio-economic consequences of the pandemic, exchanging knowledge, experiences and potential solutions to the challenges facing healthcare systems.

Topics discussed included, but were not limited to, the vulnerability of healthcare systems, (in)equalities of access to healthcare, healthcare during the pandemic, (dis)satisfaction of healthcare workers, changes to gender differences in healthcare, and the role of religion in resistance to vaccination.

The keynote speech “Health Systems after the Pandemic: Building the Resilience” was given by Lucie Bryndova, Advisor at the OECD’s Healthcare Department.

Conference participants were greeted by Croatia’s Finance Minister Marko Primorac; Health Minister Vili Beroš; and Deputy Director of the European Commissions’ General Directorate for Economic and Financial Affairs and Head of the economic surveillance unit for Spain and Croatia Gabriele Giudice. Director of the Institute of Public Finance Vjekoslav Bratić highlighted that healthcare economics is aimed at achieving an economic impact of healthcare services provided, but that matters of ethics, righteousness and equality are getting more and more attention: “In times like these, when we are faced with limited options for funding health protection, growing patient needs, high treatment costs as well as the pharmaceutical industry producing more advanced and more expensive medications, public health insurance systems will have to learn to deal with various challenges in order to secure balanced financing but will also have to be ready to compromise – how to distribute funds for treatment and to whom. The objective of this conference was to raise awareness regarding these matters, but also to start a discussion on the viable options for dealing with the challenges facing healthcare in the post-pandemic period.”

This was the eighth Public Sector Economics conference organised by the Institute of Public Finance, with each of the previous editions covering a different topic. More information, presentations and the event recording are available at the conference website.

Thanks to all authors; program committee (Aniko Biro, Ana Bobinac, Zoran Bubaš, Martina Celidoni, Igor Francetić, Christian Gericke, Florence Jusot, Dubravko Mihaljek, Valentina Prevolnik Rupel, Shlomi Segall, Šime Smolić); as well as colleagues who participated in the organization and everyone who supported our conference (the European Commission and the Association of Cities in Croatia).