5 Areas of Actions

1) Providing Quality of Care across the EU

From the patients’ perspective, access and quality are interlinked. Based on a coming survey on patients’ perspective on quality care, we will make recommendations to ensure that those key elements from the patients’ perspective are appropriately included at EU and national level in assessing quality of care.

At Member States level, we call for a process of health system performance assessment that responds to the principles of good governance, transparency and democracy by including perspective of health stakeholders, including patient organisations. In this regard, EPF will work for the implementation of patient-reported outcome measures and patient experience measures (PROMs and PREMs) to ensure that the patient perspective is at the heart of health systems performance measurement. 

EPF will also advocate for standards or guidelines for quality of care to be defined with the patients, and to respond to the needs of individual patients rather than adopting a ‘one size fits all approach’

2) Committing to Sustainable Investment in Health

Insufficient or inadequate investment in health is an important issue in many EU countries. It impacts negatively on patients’ access to healthcare services and often translates in health inequalities and poorer health outcomes for the population, which is costly and detrimental for the labour force in Member States.

EPF call for Member States to commit to invest sustainably in healthcare in order to ensure universal health coverage in the EU, and reflect on key mechanisms ensuring investment in healthcare are based on outcomes and added value. EPF believes that health promotion, prevention (whether primary, secondary or tertiary) and patient-centred chronic disease management are part of a continuum: effective prevention can free resources to provide healthcare for patients, while investment in high-quality chronic disease management can maximise patients’ quality of life, reduce the disease burden and optimise the use of healthcare resources. Sustainable investment comprises investment in prevention and chronic diseases management

3) Encouraging Affordability of Healthcare Products and Services

Patients are reporting that healthcare, when available, can be unaffordable and cause financial hardship. Increasing co-payment, the cost of specialist care, the price of innovative medicines and devices, the price of diagnostics, and other non-reimbursed costs are all contributing to this issue.

Patients are faced with opacity when it comes to pricing and reimbursement decision and are not involved in decision making, which leads to discrepancies between what they need and what is reimbursed. In addition, in some Member States, a part of the population does not have healthcare coverage. To make the right to health a reality in the EU, healthcare needs to be affordable for all, not only these patients who can pay.

4) Implementing Access to a Holistic Range of Health and Social Services

To address chronic conditions and multi-morbidity, patients need to have access to integrated care services. “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease[1] according to the WHO. 

In this context holistic support encompasses affordable access to physical and mental health services, as well as appropriate support from social services. The current experience of patients is that health and social services work in silos, offering little support or information to patients.

5) Ending Discrimination and Stigma Patients Are Facing in Healthcare

Healthcare has to be accessible and appropriate to the needs of all patients, otherwise access to healthcare is not universal. EPF will work collaboratively with other NGOs to ensure the EU approach to universal  health coverage is inclusive and addresses the access barriers  vulnerable groups are currently facing.

[1] Preamble to the Constitution of the World Health Organization.