EPF Statement in Response to the Written Consultation on the WHO European Programme of Work

The European Patients’ Forum welcomes the ambitious and timely European Programme of Work of the World Health Organisation (WHO). Its determination to address health inequalities and to leave no one behind aligns well with the UN SDG3 on health. We believe that the empowerment and meaningful involvement of patients and communities – i.e., the people the health systems aim to serve – at all levels will be critical to the shaping and the delivery of the EPW, but the concept is not entirely elaborated in the document.

We wish to underline the critical importance of ensuring alignment between the EPW and the European Commission’s policy priorities in health. The COVID-19 crisis has shown the need to deepen cooperation, not only at EU level but also between the EU Institutions and the WHO European Regional Office. Joint leadership and action is needed to tackle the structural weakness of our health systems.

EPF has extensive expertise and experience in bringing the patient perspective on healthcare access, equity, quality and safety, patient empowerment and involvement, experience of working with the relevant EU legislative frameworks and in international collaborations with WHO and the OECD. We are happy to discuss how best to incorporate patient representation in various activities, in line with our priorities as outlined in our Strategic Plan and annual work plans.

We have commented on each of the 3 priorities of the Written Programme. Read our full response here: WHO European Programme of Work-fin.pdf