Our position to promote ‘Healthcare for all’

EPF released a position paper called “Healthcare for all” (link, PDF) to promote the development of EU and national policies that tackle discrimination faced by patients in exercising their right to healthcare While there are existing principles and laws on this issue, we believe further steps need to be taken to truly tackle stigma across the EU and apply the right to health for all.

Patients have a fundamental right to health. In EPF’s vision, the fundamental goal of healthcare is to support every citizen in achieving the best possible health outcome and quality of life and to enable them to take their rightful place in society.

Patients face various forms of discrimination in the European Union, because of their health status and/or on other grounds. They are, however, not always protected by non-discrimination legislation within the European Union, depending on the reason of the discrimination, the Member States where it occurs, and of the disease.

Our position paper presents various forms of discrimination patients encounter in healthcare, and makes recommendations on the implementation of five key rights:

  • Right of access and equal treatment in healthcare for all;
  • Right to be protected from discrimination on health status;
  • Right to respect and to dignity in healthcare facilities;
  • Right to information and support;
  • Right for vulnerable groups to participate in anti-discrimination policies.

This position reiterates our commitment to ensure patients’ rights for all regardless of health status, age, sex, ethnic origin, political belief, religious conviction, marital status, economic status, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other factor that could lead to discrimination. This is part of the core values defined in our Strategic Plan 2014-2020. We also plan to publish another statement later in 2015, but with a focus on discrimination of patients with chronic diseases in the workplace and in education.

Contact: EPF Policy Officer Laurène Souchet (laurene.souchet@eu-patient.eu).