In 2002, Active Citizenship Network (ACN) together with a group of European citizens organizations established a European Charter of Patients’ Rights, which includes the following 14 rights:the right to preventive measures; access care; information; consent; free choice; privacy and confidentiality; respect of patients’ time; observance of quality standards; safety; innovation; avoidance of unnecessary suffering and pain; personalized treatment; to complain; to receive compensation. All these rights, based on the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, are crucial in matter of European citizens and healthcare services. The majority of these rights are also embodied within the Council conclusions on Common values and principles in EU Health Systems adopted in June 2006.
The reinforcement of these rights will become effective only with the cooperation and commitment of all healthcare stakeholders in every EU country. It is thus essential to increase awareness regarding the importance of patients’ rights and everyone’s responsibilities in guaranteeing their respect. We believe that celebrating a European Patients’ Rights Day every year in all the EU Member States would greatly contribute to this goal. It is a common occasion to inform, discuss and take commitments to improve patients’ rights in Europe and in each member state.
For this reason ACN, together with citizens’ and patients’ organizations throughout Europe, have taken the initiative to organize for the last six consecutive years the European Patients’ Rights Day.
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On 11 January 2014, the Italian Council of Ministers adopted a document laying out the preliminary plans of the Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union indicating pain therapy and palliative care as areas of focus during the Italian Presidency.
Cittadinanzattiva Onlus and its European branch Active Citizenship Network (ACN), being deeply involved in the European and national debate on patients' rights against unnecessary and useless pain, welcomes the Italian Presidency intention to tackle the issue of pain therapy and palliative care and would be delighted to contribute to the agenda and content setting with this regard.
Putting pain therapy and palliative care on its agenda will allow the Italian Presidency to position Italy as a pioneer in this field and share its own experience with other member states (especially with regard to the best practice law 38/2010 on palliative care and pain therapy). It will, above all, promote a greater awareness of the issue of chronic pain therapy among EU and national policy and decision-makers and over the longer term, reduce the negative impact of chronic pain on EU society. This would not only ensure a lasting legacy of the Italian Presidency but also pave the way to a better future for patients in Europe suffering from chronic pain. Based on an observation of activities undertaken by previous Presidencies in the area of health, the initiative outlined below (solely or combined with an integrated approach) could be considered by the Italian Presidency and stakeholder in order to promote the debate on palliative care and pain therapy during its term.
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