On February 25, the Patient Access Partnership (PACT) in partnership with Grupo de Ativistas em Tratamentos (GAT) and the collaborative initiative MAIS PARTICIPAÇÃO Melhor saúde that GAT promotes, held a meeting in Lisbon, entitled Patient-Centred Roundtable on Working Together for Accessible Health”, to discuss opportunities for improving cooperation between Portuguese health stakeholders for better access to quality healthcare in the country. The event, was organized with the institutional support of the Health Parliamentary Commission and the Ministry of Health of Portugal.

Welcoming the participants, Mr. Luis Mendão (president of GAT) highlighted the importance of health systems that are both patient and prevention centered. He remarked the relevance of PACT as an initiative that supports the synergies between the European and local institutions for the benefit of access to health care for all patients. Dr. Stanimir Hasardzhiev (Secretary-General of PACT) presented the event as the third of its kind where PACT has hoped to serve as a platform for active dialogue between the European institutions and the Member States.

Ms. Isabel Aldir (Director for Viral Hepatitis and HIV / AIDS and Tuberculosis Priority Program) reinstated the commitment of the National Health Service to addressing the citizen’s needs and went on to highlighting the importance of patients’ involvement in health policy – for which health literacy and empowerment are a prerequisite, and the need of active involvement from all stakeholders in efforts to assure access to healthcare.

Mr. Ricardo Baptista Leite (Member of the Portuguese Parliament) emphasized the need of truly accessible systems for which access to relevant and quality information is essential. Speaking of the European Semester, Mr. Carl Larsson Lindqvist (DG SANTE, European Commission) presented the efforts of the European Commission to support primarily financial sustainability and access the healthcare.

Representatives from EUPATI, the Fast Track Cities initiative, academics, civil society, trade associations, policy makers, patient organizations, public health experts and other stakeholders, discussed in details the main issues that the Portuguese healthcare system faces. Issues such as literacy and empowerment of patients – including prevention, the reinforcement of a truly inclusive healthcare system, the efficiency of existing resources, the need of better cooperation and dialogue among stakeholders and investment in new technologies were central throughout the conversations.

More information on the meeting can be found here.