Structural Fund support for enhancing institutional capacity and an efficient public administration has traditionally been an important source of improvement to public services such as healthcare systems. It can cover reforms aimed at better regulation and good governance, as well as capacity building for stakeholders delivering social policies at national, regional and local levels.

Understanding the policy context

To qualify for funding in the 2014-2020 programming period, Member States have to put in place a Comprehensive Strategy aimed at reinforcing administrative efficiency. This strategy should include an analysis, strategic planning and evaluation of reforms, with an overall aim to simplify and rationalize administrative procedures.

[Relationship between ICB and health]

More efficient health administration can also address health inequalities, through:

  • Raising awareness on social determinants of health

  • Improvements to the evidence base for health care decision-making

  • Increase community participation

  • Improve integration of services for socially excluded groups

Developing Operational Programmes

The table (below) highlights some examples where the links between institutional capacity and health have been recognized by Member States and regions in the 2007-2013 programmes (follow the links for details and more information):


Where to find it

In its Human Resources Development OP, Slovenia recognizes the importance of the healthcare sector for economic development. More specifically, attention has to be paid to healthcare institutions which will become more important in providing better opportunities in the labor market and in health care.

Slovenia, Human Resources Development OP, Section 3.3.5, page 112)

Lithuania recognizes that health is a sector where the impact of public administration systems’ reforms is especially high. Lithuania’s Human Resource Development OP suggests that assistance in the health care area, through providing proper executive and monitoring institutions, will help to maintain overall financial stability in the long run.

Lithuania, Human Resources Development OP, Section 2.5, Priority axis 4, page 151


Developing Projects

Projects in institutional capacity building for health benefits can address:

  • organizational development

  • workforce development

  • leadership development

  • partnership development

  • resource allocation at all levels if the potential of using structural funds to reduce health inequities is to be realized, effective and sustained.


As found in the case studies for this work, Particular emphasis should be given to the role of local and regional health stakeholders in using Structural Funds to address social determinants of health and health inequities, as they are closer to communities and have more operating flexibility than national ministries of health. Regional stakeholders also have considerable experience in facilitating intersectoral action and in merging national policy priorities into regional strategies and master plans