Access to Healthcare

The economic recession has strongly affected our society. Millions of people have lost their jobs, and their security and well-being have been negatively influenced. The crisis has also put health systems under severe pressure while they are already facing the pressure of growing demand for healthcare due to an ageing population, among other issues. Access to quality healthcare is a basic EU citizen’s right – yet it is still not a reality for all of us, a situation made worse by the economic crisis.

EPF’s Position

EPF supports the principle of ‘equity and health in all policies’, and our core value of equitable access to high-quality healthcare for all patients informs our policy work on health inequalities.

As a representative organisation of patients of chronic illness and their families, we focus on chronic disease as a factor leading to health and social inequalities and patient-centred disease management as a crucial part of the continuum encompassing prevention and health promotion.

In our view, patient empowerment and health literacy are among the fundamental aspects of tackling health inequalities, and we will continue to incorporate these aspects in our work in this area and the wider perspective on chronic disease.

Publications and initiatives

In December 2022, EPF published a report on "Health in the European Semester 2022" to provide an overview of the health-related aspects of the Commission’s 2022 European Semester process and explain its major elements, timeline, and relevance to the patient community. 

EPF published a position paper on the 2019 country-specific recommendations as part of the European Union's yearly European Semester cycle.

In 2016 EPF published a statement Defining and Measuring Access to Healthcare detailing 9 key recommendations for indicators for access to healthcare;

In August 2016, EPF launched a survey on access to healthcare in the EU. Designed by patients and patient representatives from within our membership, the questionnaire aimed to gather experiences of patients across diseases and Member States. The report of the survey is available here, and this allowed us to finalize the Campaign on Access to Healthcare and Universal Health Coverage

In November 2015 EPF provided comments to the preliminary opinion on ‘Access to health services in the European Union’ of the expert panel on Effective Ways on Investing in health. 

In addition, EPF and EURORDIS  launched a call on the national authorities responsible for medicines pricing and reimbursement within EU Member States to collaborate on medicines pricing at a European level, all with the aim of improving patient access to medicines. View the full call here.

EPF Secretariat jointly with our Bulgarian member, the National Patient Organisation (NPO), set up the Patient Access Partnership (PACT) in November 2014 (and it continues to this day).