Civic societies and patient organizations together with Members of the EU Parliament strengthen the protection of patients’ rights in the European framework: this is the main message coming from the celebration of the IX Edition of the European Patients' Rights Day, organized as always by Active Citizenship Network, the EU branch of the Italian NGO Cittadinanzattiva.
The event took place today at the EU Parliament, co-hosted by MEP David Borrelli Co-Chair EFDD Group, and MEP Gianni Pittella, Chair of S&D Group.
“The idea to encourage a MEPs Interest Group focused on patients’ rights is linked to the widespread request of 80 civic and patient organizations sent to the EU Parliament to recognize officially the value of citizens’ initiatives, such us the European Charter of Patients’ Rights based on the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and the European Patients’ Rights Day, which has been organized every year on April 18th since 2007 at local, national and EU level” said Antonio Gaudioso, Secretary General of Cittadinanzattiva.
Across Europe, the sustainability of healthcare systems is a common good to be safeguarded. We are worried about how to reach this goal without involving citizens, patients and their associations, as this could lead to patients' rights not being taken into consideration. Indeed, the economic crisis has a direct impact on healthcare access, especially for the vulnerable population, which are exposed to social exclusion, increased private costs or giving up altogether medical care. Faced with this scenario, the new MEPs Interest Group “European patients' rights and cross-border healthcare” could represent an effective message of the European Institutions’ commitment that any action towards a sustainable healthcare system should be done by putting patients’ rights at the forefront.
Both MEPs Borrelli and Pittella, as well as MEPs Gentile and Zanonato (S&D), will support the Interest Group that aims not only to be a “watchdog” to the European Commission’s activities in the field of patients’ rights, but also to promote initiatives with the involvement of civic and patient organizations.
The reinforcement of patients’ rights will become effective only with the cooperation and commitment of all healthcare stakeholders in every EU country, where patients must be considered as partners in the health policy, sharing with the institutions and professionals the responsibility of finding the balance between patients’ interests and the sustainability of healthcare systems. It is thus essential to increase awareness regarding the importance of patients’ rights and everyone’s responsibilities in guaranteeing their respect.
“The new EU Parliament” added Gaudioso “could be remembered for its commitment on patients’ rights, recognizing officially the European Patients' Rights Day, establishing the European Year of Patients' Rights during its mandate, implementing the EU Directive 2011/24/EU on the application of patients’ rights in cross-border healthcare, enforcing the civic activism involved to improve the quality of patients’ life and the protection of their rights as an essential resource for the health systems in each country. And we are glad to work together and to create a bridge between national patient associations and MEPs”.
The group will focus on the following issues:
- Make the European Parliament acknowledge the European Patients' Rights Day in order to officially recognize and institutionalize it.
- Actively support the celebrations of the European Patients’ Rights Day and collaborate with civic and patient associations at the national and European level.
- Strengthen the protection of patients’ rights in the European legislation, starting from the adoption of the European Charter of Patients' Rights, 14 patients' rights that together aim to guarantee a “high level of human health protection” (Article 35 of the Charter of fundamental rights of the European Union) and to assure the high quality of services provided by the various national health services in Europe.
- Promote initiatives that encourage and ensure among EU countries the respect of the primary and secondary European legislation focused on the patients’ safety and the protection of their rights. It could be done with the involvement of civic and patient association, starting from the Directive 2011/24/EU on patients' rights in cross-border healthcare (which is included in the title for the first time the patients’ rights) and the most recent “Draft Report on safer healthcare in Europe: improving patient safety and fighting antimicrobial resistance (2014/2207(INI))", approved unanimously on 16th April 2015 by the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety.
- Establish the European Year of Patients' Rights during its mandate.
Cittadinanzattiva (Active citizenship) is an Italian non-profit organization founded in 1978, recognized as a consumer organization since 2000. Cittadinanzattiva’s main objectives are the promotion of civic participation and the protection of citizens’ rights in Italy and in Europe. It considers citizens a fundamental resource for democracy who play an active role in society and should have the opportunity to participate in everyday policy-making (www.cittadinanzattiva.it)
Active Citizenship Network (ACN) is part of a widespread European open and flexible network of more than 100 civic, patient and user organizations. Established in 2001, it is coordinated by Cittadinanzattiva (www.activecitizenship.net)
European Patients’ Rights Day: The European Patients’ Rights Day has been celebrated for nine years, an initiative created by civic associations and already included in the European political agenda. For further information: www.activecitizenship.net/primo-piano/170-9th-european-patients-rights-day.html
European Charter of Patients' Rights: it was drafted in 2002 by Active Citizenship Network in collaboration with 12 citizens' organizations from different EU countries. For further information: www.activecitizenship.net/patients-rights/projects/29-european-charter-of-patients-rights.html