Bucharest, 20 November 2017

On November 20, the Patient Access Partnership (PACT) and the Coalition of Organisations of Patients with Chronic Diseases in Romania (COPAC) held a meeting in Bucharest, entitled “Patient-Centred Roundtable on Working Together for Accessible Health”, to discuss opportunities for improving cooperation between Romanian stakeholders for better access to quality healthcare in the country.

The event, organised in cooperation with the Health Committee of the Senate (Romanian Parliament), the Health Committee of the Deputy Chamber (Romanian Parliament) and the European Patients’ Forum (EPF), was endorsed by the Romanian Minister of Health – Florian Bodog.

Following the opening remarks of Dr. Hasardzhiev, Secretary-General of PACT and Mr. Radu Ganescu, President of COPAC, the floor was given to Dr. Diana Păun (State Counsellor at the Health Department of the Romanian Presidency) who welcomed the constructive cooperation between the Romanian government and the European Commission as a result of which Romania has been able to mark progress on the Country Specific Recommendations. Recognising the need for better exchange between stakeholders, Dr. Emanuel-Gabriel Botnariu (Senator at the Health Committee of Senate to the Romanian Parliament) emphasised the importance of following EU legislative trends and ensuring more effective policies on prevention, especially in terms of vaccination.

Speaking of the Country Specific Recommendations for Romania in the framework of the European Semester, the representatives of the European Commissions’ DG SANTE – Ms. Blanco and Ms. Ptak – highlighted the progress that the country has made in addressing unmet need. They spoke of the efforts of the European Commission to optimise the synergies between the European Semester and the European Pillar of Social Rights and encouraged the broader use of the existing EC expertise and financial mechanisms for the implementation of policies in line with the recommendations.

Policy-makers, patients, healthcare professionals, public health experts, public health NGOs and trade associations discussed in detail the main issues that the Romanian healthcare system faces such as unequal access to healthcare (in terms of medication and doctors) in rural areas and the opportunities to improve it through optimising the existing potential of the medical expertise and technical capacity to address these shortages.

They united over the need for continuity of stakeholder dialogue as a means to ensure long-term results beyond political instability. As a result of commonly shared values for better healthcare performance which reflects patients’ needs, facilitates care delivery and provides for sustainable investment, they discussed proposals for the establishment of formal stakeholder coalition (or platform) to provide regular insights to the authorities on pertinent issues in a spirit of mutual recognition. Stakeholders shared the belief that one possible approach to do so is to step on existing policy tools and national strategies which already address some of these challenges.

A full report of the meeting will be available shortly.

Backgrounder:

The meeting in Romania is the second (for 2017) of several planned country stakeholder meetings in selected EU Member States as follow-up events to the PACT Regional Conference (12-13 September 2016, Sofia) where one of the main conclusions coming from the discussions between various stakeholders from Central and Eastern Europe was that the European Semester process should better reflect the country-level situation. An emphasis was put on the need to allow broader stakeholder involvement and input with respect to the Country Specific Recommendations (CSRs).With the country stakeholder meetings, the Patient Access Partnership (PACT) builds on these conclusions and reiterates the importance of proactive cooperation and inclusive dialogue of all health stakeholders with respect to existing and future healthcare policies for better access to healthcare. The first PACT Country stakeholder meeting was held in Lithuania (June 8, Lithuanian Parliament) with the partnership of the Lithuanian Cancer Patient Coalition (POLA) and under the auspices of the Lithuanian Minister of Health, Prof. Dr. Aurelijus Veryga.