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EPF Position Paper on Access from the Patients’ Perspective

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EPF has recently published a position paper on defining and measuring access from the patient perspective. The definition was developed throughout 2015 in consultation with our members and with the working group on access.

EPF believes that achieving a truly patient-centred healthcare system requires patients and their organisations to be involved in defining indicators on access and health system performance assessment. Following intense consultation with its membership, EPF recently published a position paper on defining and measuring access from the patients’ perspective.

The definition was developed throughout 2015 in discussion with our members and with the working group on access. The paper comes in line with the findings of the Patient Access Partnership, the patient-led multi-stakeholder network developing innovative solutions to reduce inequities in access to quality healthcare in the European Union.

The position drafted by EPF and its members presents 3 different but complementary objectives:

  • To provide a patient-led perspective on what access to healthcare means to decision makers and other health stakeholders, including academia
  • To foster change in the way access is measured in the EU (whether at EU or national level) and ultimately contribute to the setting of appropriate EU policies to tackle barriers to access
  • To contribute a patients’ perspective to current EU debates on access and indicators, including to the Patient Access Partnership work on indicators

A patient-led definition is essential in order to set objectives to improve access to healthcare in the EU that are relevant to patients who bear the human cost of health inequalities and access barriers”, according to Nicola Bedlington, EPF Secretary General.

The definition proposed by the paper identifies 5 dimension to access, referred to as the 5 A’s of access.

  • Availability – whether an healthcare service or product is provided by one’s health system
  • Affordable – whether seeking healthcare cause financial hardship to patients.
  • Accessible – whether there are barriers that stop patients from accessing healthcare
  • Adequacy –  which refers to the quality of healthcare
  • Appropriate – whether healthcare meets the need of different groups of the population

The position also warns of key gaps in access indicators at EU level. Specific information on access to healthcare and other connected services for patients with chronic, long-term conditions is lacking. A similar insufficiency can be found in terms of access to healthcare for vulnerable groups.

With this position, EPF also calls for key recommendations to EU decision makers and Member States to improve the monitoring of access in the EU through patient centred indicators.

To read the full position paper and have a look at our work on access, please go here.

Contact: Laurène Souchet, Policy Advisor, laurene.souchet@eu-patient.eu