While fair treatment is a basic right in the EU, the EU framework for tackling discrimination only covers some specific grounds listed in the Treaty, such as age, disability, gender, race, religion or sexual orientation. Chronic disease is not one of these grounds. Yet patients with chronic or/and lifelong conditions may face discrimination and stigma in various areas of their life, including healthcare, financial services, education, and employment.
Non-discrimination is among EPF’s core values. We are committed to promoting the rights of all patients 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.
We aim to combat discrimination on the grounds of illness and address health inequalities from the perspective of patients We promote the development of EU and national policies that tackle discrimination faced by patients in health and social care, as well as in domains like education and employment.
In January 2016, EPF published a position statement entitled "Equal treatment for patients in education and employment" to highlight this issue and provide recmmendations on how to tackle discrimination.
We released a position paper entitled "Healthcare for all" in January 2015 as we believe that, while there are existing principles and laws on discrimination, further steps need to be taken to truly tackle it in the EU and to apply the right to health for all.
We defined non-discrimination as one of the core strategic goals of our 2014-2020 Strategic Plan. EPF believes in ensuring 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.
EPF adopted non-discrimination as one of the organisation’s strategic goals for 2014-2020 (see EPF’s Strategic Plan 2014-2020). We are also developing a briefing paper to define with our membership the priorities for future work in this area.
EPF also responded on 26 August to the Commission’s consultation on the new EU Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) policy framework. This consultation was an opportunity to flag patients’ specific needs in the workplace as well as interest of the patient community to be further involved in policies on safety and health at work. EPF drafted a response based on our past work on health literacy as well as the EPF consultation response to the chronic diseases reflection process. The response was reviewed by the EPF Policy Advisory Group.
EPF initiated collaboration with the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). This will complement and enrich our work on discrimination in relation to the EU anti-discrimination legislation framework.
EPF also contributed to the Commission’s public consultation on a possible successor instrument to the EU’s Employment and Social Solidarity Programme (PROGRESS). This instrument plays a role in tackling discrimination towards patients and in implementing the “Health in all policies” principle. We recommended that PROGRESS should include tools to address discrimination against patients with chronic diseases, including in employment, and that funding from this programme should be available for patient organisations that actively focus on discrimination against patients.