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General Information

As the general population ages, the number of patients with chronic diseases is growing. Many chronic diseases become more prevalent with age. Also, thanks to modern medical treatments, patients with chronic diseases developed at a younger age are living longer.

Patients with chronic diseases develop specific needs as they age. To explore these needs and integrate an older patients’ perspective into EPF’s policy and advocacy work, the EPF Board in 2010 approved the development of a strategy on the rights of older patients as a complement to EPF’s Youth Strategy.

Specific anchor-points at EU level are provided by the adoption in December 2010 of a pilot European Innovation Partnership on Healthy and Active Ageing and the decision to adopt the year 2012 as the European theme year for active ageing and solidarity between generations. The Innovation Partnership aims to address bottlenecks and weaknesses in the way of innovation through multi-stakeholder cooperation. Its overarching goal is, by 2020, to increase the average Healthy Life Years (HLY) in the European Union by two years.

EPF’s Position

In EPF’s view, the Innovation Partnership and the work undertaken within it should be informed by the fundamental principles of: a cross-sectorial approach; stakeholder participation; equity of access; inclusiveness; alleviation of health inequalities; needs-oriented innovation; and respect for diversity.

In our response to the European Commission’s public consultation in 2011, we underlined the need for a holistic approach to the health of older people, including physical health, mental well-being, and social integration. We also stressed the importance of equitable access to early diagnosis, access to treatment and support services; health literacy; and the involvement of patient organisations. 

Key Steps 


EPF released a position paper (see position below) on the right and needs of older patients where important flaws have been identified by patients’ organisations.  This paper provides recommendations for the EU institutions, Member States, and health stakeholders building on the outcomes of EPF’s flagship conference in Warsaw organised in 2011 under the Polish Presidency of the EU and our work in the context of the European Innovation Partnership.


EPF is developing a position paper on the rights and needs of older patients, in consultation with our membership, to make concrete recommendations stemming from past work and our members’ expertise. It will be published by the end of 2013. 


Building on the outcomes of EPF’s flagship conference in Warsaw, and our work in the context of the European Innovation Partnership, EPF started a member consultation process with the aim of developing a position paper. EPF also became involved in two actions groups of the partnership: Action Group A1 on Adherence and Action Group A2 on frailty and under-nutrition.


On 12-13 July 2011, EPF held a flagship conference in Warsaw, under the Polish Presidency of the EU, on the Rights and Needs of Older Patients. Presentations from the conference are available in our event section. The conference report with key messages and outcomes of this event is available in the section on your right.


We initiated our work on older patients with a member consultation during December 2010 and January 2011, resulting in a strong contribution to the Commission’s public consultation on the Innovation Partnership on Healthy and Active Ageing.

Please read our contribution in the section to your right.

EPF continued to take an active role in the development of the Partnership: EPF President, Anders Olauson, was represented on the High-Level Steering Group and the EPF Secretariat participated in several “sherpa” meetings that prepared the work of the Steering Group and refined the operational aspects of the Partnership.

Following the adoption of the Strategic Plan of the Partnership, EPF and several of our member organisations are involved in the implementation of the Innovation Partnership in key thematic action areas, such as adherence and health literacy, integrated care, and nutrition, as well as in governance and monitoring of the Partnership.   

Page last modified: 9 September 2013