Equity of access to quality health to quality healthcare

Access to healthcare is a fundamental citizen’s right. However health disparities still exist and are even more put at risk with the economic crisis and austerity measures.

Photo: Equity of access to quality health to quality healthcare

The Bulgarian National Patients’ Organization (NPO), with the support of the European Patients’ Forum (EPF), organises a conference titled “Health Inequalities in the ‘New’ EU Member States and Candidate Countries - Equity of Access to Quality Healthcare” in recognition of the urgency of these issues.

The conference will be hosted by Dr Andrey Kovatchev, MEP at the European Parliament on 26 June. Members of the European Parliament, EU health policy makers and experts, patient and industry representatives will attend this event. They will have the opportunity to reiterate the importance of collaboration and partnership for equity of access to quality healthcare and social welfare. They will also discuss possible solutions such as establishing a European Partnership for equity of access to quality healthcare. This partnership would provide a platform to combine the efforts of authorities, stakeholders and industry to identify possible new mechanisms for ensuring that patients have access to affordable and quality healthcare.

The first session will build on the lessons learned from the first conference on Health Inequalities which took place in September 2012 in Sofia, Bulgaria.  NPO Chairperson and member of the EPF Board, Dr. Stanimir Hasardzhiev, will present the outcomes of this First Conference to see how we could further contribute to reduce health inequalities to the benefit of all EU citizens.

Ms. Emily Peasgood, Marketing Researcher at INCITE Research, UK, will present the official results of the patients’ survey on health inequalities. This project was initiated as a follow-up of the conference by NPO and EPF to assess concrete and up-to-date data on the direct impact of inequalities on patients’ well-being. It was conducted in the twelve new EU Member States and the three candidate countries and approximately 300 patient advocates participated.

Furthermore the conference will highlight case studies on sustainable pricing. Mr. Achim Kautz, Policy Director of the European Liver Patients’ Association (ELPA) will look at hepatitis’ case and Mr. Erik Briers, Executive Director of the European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC) at oncology.

The following session will explore ways to create equity of access in treatment and care in the EU Member States. Panelists will share their insights on the possible solutions to expanding access to quality healthcare throughout Europe. Representatives of the Bulgarian Ministry of Health, DG SANCO and the Belgian National Institute of Health & Disability Insurance (RIZIV) will focus on collaboration opportunities between EU Member States, on the ways to expand access to medicines as well as on the efforts of the EU Institutions to reduce health inequalities.

The conference will conclude with a discussion panel. Leading policy-makers and experts will explore opportunities for influencing European policies in consideration not only of economic factors but also of health indicators to ensure equity of access to quality healthcare throughout Europe.  

As a follow-up of the conference, leading MEPs’ champions for patients’ rights, will establish an informal group to discuss suitable strategic actions and future activities to ensure equity of access to quality healthcare.


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