Active Citizenship Network along with patient and civic associations from within and outside the EU, are calling to all the European Institutions to bring to your attention on the institutionalisation of the European Patients’ Rights Day.

The recognition of Patients’ Rights across the European Union is due to an increasing demand from European citizens and we all know that the reinforcement of these rights will become effective only with the cooperation and commitment of all the stakeholders in each EU country.

Thus it is 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 EU Member States would greatly contribute to this goal. This would be an excellent opportunity and an occasion to inform, discuss and make commitments to improve patients’ rights, which are included in the European Patients’ Rights Charter, in Europe and in each Member State.

For this reason, Active Citizenship Network together with a large number of patient and civil society organisations and relevant stakeholders across the European Union, has taken the initiative to organize since 2007 the European Patients’ Rights Day with events in more than 100 cities in 28 EU countries.

A fundamental innovative aspect is that the events are driven by citizens' and patients' organizations. They provide a civic perspective and recognize citizens, not only as “users or consumers” of health services or “patients” with a specific disease, but rather as essential stakeholders concerned with the sustainability, safety and quality of healthcare.

In 2012, Health Commissioner John Dalli demonstrated his conviction about the need to protect Patients’ rights and increase awareness about such rights. He fully recognized the importance of the action led by ACN in this regard. The EU Commission said it was ready to contribute and support activities related to European Patients’ Rights Day.

In May 2014, Health Commissioner Tonio Borg stated that “European Patients' Rights Day is an important occasion for patients and patients' organizations to ensure that their voices are heard” and added that “Every day should be a Patients’ Rights Day!”.

Over the years, other European Institutions underlined the importance of this Day. For instance, the European Economic Social Committee approved an Opinion on Patients' rights calling on the European Commission to establish a European Patients' Rights Day.

In addition, two Resolutions from the European Parliament have been called for the adoption of the European Charter of Patients' Rights.

As citizens and patients of the European Union we call on the new European Parliament to initiate procedures in order to officially recognize 18th of April as the official European Patients’ Rights Day.

For the new European Parliament this could be a clear signal to send to the European citizens and patients that the European Institutions are closer to their needs and ready to protect their rights.

Let’s make it official!

Mariano Votta
Director of Active Citizenship Network

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