On June 8, the Patient Access Partnership (PACT) and the Lithuanian Cancer Patient Coalition (POLA) held a stakeholder meeting entitled “Patient-Centred Roundtable on Working Together for Accessible Health”. The event, organized in cooperation with the Committee on Health Affairs of Lithuanian Parliament (Vilnius), Lithuanian Ministry of Health, Lithuanian Patients‘ Forum and the European Patients’ Forum (EPF), took place in the Lithuanian Parliament and was held under the auspices and with the presence of the Lithuanian Minister of Health, Prof. Dr. Aurelijus Veryga.
The meeting was the first of several planned country stakeholder meetings to be held in selected EU Member States. It was initiated by PACT as a follow-up event 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). In this context, the meeting in Lithuania offered a timely opportunity for policy-makers and the healthcare community in Lithuania to increase cooperation and explore opportunities for effective engagement on existing and future healthcare policies with the aim to improve access to quality healthcare for patients.
Dr. Hasardzhiev, Secretary-General of PACT, opened the meeting by encouraging the participants – key healthcare stakeholders, to collaborate in order to build sustainable channels for multi-stakeholder cooperation for regular communication and exchange on pertinent and long-term issues of healthcare. Dr. Hasardzhiev expressed belief that improving access should be a key priority for future EU cooperation in health policies. He however emphasised that the responsibility for the results should be also carried at national level with all stakeholders united together to tackle inequity in access.
In his opening address Minister Veryga, both a host and a distinguished speaker, expressed satisfaction with the willingness of the concerned stakeholders to attend the meeting and contribute for a common goal: to improve healthcare in Lithuania. He demonstrated commitment to work together with the stakeholders for patient-centred reform and welcomed the efforts for sustainable dialogue.
Representing European Commission’s DG SANTE, Mr. Jorge Antunes affirmed the importance of utilizing existing EU mechanisms for supporting national governments in healthcare reforms such as the European Semester. Mr. Antunes provided an overview of the 2017 Country Specific Recommendations for Lithuania which build on the recommendations from 2016 by affirming the need for improving health system performance with a focus on better outpatient care, prevention and affordability.
The meeting was marked by sound agreement between the participants to work towards transparent and committed cooperation in order to address the major healthcare challenges in the country. The participants identified key priority areas to respond to the Commission’s Country Specific Recommendations and agreed on follow-up actions.
Information for the meeting is available here.