With EU elections fast approaching, European patients are also part of the action. Representing the interests of an estimated 150 million patients with chronic diseases, the European Patients’ Forum (EPF) is campaigning to make clear to election candidates what patients throughout the EU need and expect in the upcoming five years. EPF’s campaign complements the current campaign of AGE Platform Europe, demonstrating that Europeans share universal democratic needs that must be understood by decision-makers.
“Patients + Participation = Our Vote for a Healthier Europe” focuses on four main key pillars that will help shape a sustainable, high-quality European healthcare system for all.
First, patients are experts in healthcare by experience. They live with their conditions every day and can guide decision-makers on ways to offer better-quality, cost-effective care. Patients engage collectively through patients’ organisations to be able to play this crucial role.
Secondly, empowerment starts with tailored, high-quality information to patients and health literacy to help them make informed choices about their care. An EU strategy on patient empowerment will result in patients who partner with health professionals in our condition management, take preventive measures and adhere better to treatment, which will enhance our quality of life as well reduce healthcare costs in the long run.
Third, fair and equal access in terms of availability and affordability of high-quality healthcare and non- discrimination in the health arena are also integral. Fourthly, meaningful patient involvement in healthcare research and design contribute to new and better treatments with real-life added value for patients, their families and their communities.
The first objective of the AGE campaign is to promote equal opportunities and the realisation of human rights for all. While this is more generic than EPF‘s objectives, the two organisations have a similar vision. With a specific focus on health, EPF aims to break down access barriers and promote equal access to high-quality healthcare for all Europeans with its third key ask.
The EPF and AGE manifestos both prioritise the engagement of European citizens in the policies and research that directly involve them. Together, the campaigns suggest accomplishing this by strengthening the voice of our represented groups and increasing opportunities to be heard.
Europe should be for Europeans. Patients who live daily with chronic conditions and ageing citizens who continue to carry out their daily lives in Europe can provide a wealth of untapped knowledge, insight and opinion to build a better, more equitable European society that meets the needs of all citizens. On 22-25 May, we will be voting for candidates who commit to including our valuable perspectives in their work.