The Patient Access Partnership (PACT) warmly welcomes the efforts made by the European Commission in the field of public health and calls on Member States to make health a greater EU priority and to strengthen and step up current collaboration in this field.
PACT actively highlighted the added value of EU health activities – co-organising this meeting with the MEP Interest Group on Access to Healthcare on 27 June. Triggered by the Commission’s March ‘White Paper on the future of Europe’ and jointly chaired by MEPs Andrey Kovatchev, Cristian Bușoi, Karin Kadenbach, Lieve Wierinck and PACT Secretary General Stanimir Hasardzhiev, the event addressed the role of healthcare in future scenarios for the EU. The meeting provided an opportunity to discuss EU involvement in the area of health, and come forward with views on how to strengthen and improve this.
Speaking in the event, former DG Santé’s Director General Robert Madelin (currently chair of FIPRA International) called for a more comprehensive and value-driven vision of public health, which views health as an indispensable element for stronger and resilient societies and economies.
Mr. Madelin underlined that we need to approach demographic ageing as an opportunity – and we need to get the message across that health can contribute a great deal to other policy sectors. In this spirit, he highlighted that we must strive for the Health Goal of the Sustainable Development Goals as a goal in itself – but also as a crucial lever to enable other goals to deliver optimally.
Providing an impressive overview of EU current activities and recent accomplishments relating to funding, knowledge development, Member States’ cooperation and legislation in the area of public health, Andrzej Rys (Director, DG Santé) confirmed the Commission’s continued interest as well as the challenges faced in view of some Member States’ reluctance to engage in this important area.
Justina Januševičienė (Director of the Department of Health Care Resources and Innovation Management, Lithuania) underlined the immense added value of EU health activities for the development of the health system in her country. She emphasized the potential of eHealth and data sharing as areas where collaboration between member states can be greatly improved and praised the establishments of ERN’s as one of the most tangible and visible examples of the importance of EU-level activity in the public health domain.
Welcoming EU-level health efforts, Yann Le Cam (CEO, EURORDIS) made a plea for further integration and more collaboration, underlining the importance and impact of patient advocacy and patient involvement. The EU has to ensure that the Cross Border Healthcare Directive on patient rights to seek healthcare abroad delivers on expectations, that market fragmentation – hindering equal access to treatment – is properly addressed and that data can be shared in a trustworthy manner.
Stanimir Hasardzhiev emphasized that debates on prevention, health promotion and patient-centred chronic disease management should not only include health stakeholders; there are many policy domains impacting on health and vice versa. The EU can help to show and promote solutions and highlight the need for cooperation in achieving better health care and better societal and economic outcomes. Differences between systems should not be a barrier to cooperation as the need to improve health unites us all.
A report from the event is available here.
Notes for editors:
1. The Patient Access Partnership on Equity of Access to Quality Healthcare (PACT) was officially launched in 2014 to tackle the issue of health inequalities from the perspective of patients. This patient-led network brings together the patients, the medical community, the industry and the European policy-makers to ensure equal access to quality healthcare is a priority of the EU institutions too as Member States alone cannot tackle this problem. Besides this, a genuine involvement of all stakeholders engaged with healthcare is vital to find workable solutions to fit real-life needs
2. The Interest Group on Patient Access to Healthcare: officially launched on 27 January 2015 the European Parliament Interest Group aims to tackle health inequalities and enhance proper access to high- quality healthcare for all patients. The main objective of the Group is to play a major role in providing a platform for discussion and concrete action, in cooperation with patients and the healthcare community. It will also promote synergies and knowledge-sharing regarding disease specific initiatives in the EP relating to access, and other thematic interest groups to ensure maximum effectiveness. The secretariat is being provided by the PACT, the Patient Access Stakeholder Coalition
3. For the Commission’s White paper on future scenarios:
- Lilyana Chavdarova, Programme and Policy Coordinator of PACT, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Stanimir Hasardzhiev, Secretary-General of PACT, email@example.com