Towards the establishment of the new MEPs Interest Group “European Patients' Rights and Cross-border Healthcare”

Civic societies and patient organizations together with Members of the EU Parliament
to strengthen the protection of patients’ rights in the European framework

Presentation

 

Foreword
The idea to encourage a MEPs informal Interest Group focused on patients’ rights is linked to the widespread request of more than 80 civic and patient organizations sent to the EU Parliament to recognize officially the value of citizens’ initiatives, such us the European Charter of Patients’ Rights based on the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and the European Patients’ Rights Day, which has been organized every year on April 18th since 2007 at local, national and EU level.
A request launched last May 2015 at the European Parliament during the IX Edition of the European Patients’ Rights Day, and already included in the “Report on safer healthcare in Europe: improving patient safety and fighting antimicrobial resistance (2014/2207(INI))", approved unanimously on 16th April 2015 by the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee first, and then in plenary by the European Parliament in second half of May 2015.

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Call to action for the instituzionalization

What can you do?

1. Call your MEPs to join the Interest group on Patients’ Rights and Cross-border Healthcare:
Download, translate and send this letter!
Find your MEPs here

2. Celebrate the X Edition of the European Patients’ Rights Day 2016 in your Country:
We strongly encourage participants to propose creative and original ideas based on their own experience and needs. We ask you to send us a brief outline of what you plan to organize, so Register your event

Any advice on what you can do here

3. Record a video (max 30’’) with your smartphone, in English or your language, in which you support the European Patients’ Rights Day and explain why it should be instituzionalized for you. Please, the only rule is: conclude your video by saying  “Make it official!”.
Send it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

4Register your interest to take part in a European meeting to be held in the second half of 2015 on the theme of improving patients’ rights at European level.

The MEPs Interest Group will focus on the following issues:

  1. Make the European Parliament acknowledge the European Patients' Rights Day in order to officially recognize and institutionalize it.
  2. Actively support the celebrations of the European Patients’ Rights Day and collaborate with civic and patient associations at the national and European level.
  3. Strengthen the protection of patients’ rights in the European legislation, starting from the adoption of the European Charter of Patients' Rights, 14 patients' rights that together aim to guarantee a “high level of human health protection” (Article 35 of the Charter of fundamental rights of the European Union) and to assure the high quality of services provided by the various national health services in Europe.
  4. Promote initiatives that encourage and ensure among EU countries the respect of the primary and secondary European legislation focused on the patients’ safety and the protection of their rights. It could be done with the involvement of civic and patient association, starting from the Directive 2011/24/EU on patients' rights in cross-border healthcare (which is included in the title for the first time the patients’ rights) and the most recent “Draft Report on safer healthcare in Europe: improving patient safety and fighting antimicrobial resistance (2014/2207(INI))", approved unanimously on 16th April 2015 by the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety.
  5. Establish the European Year of Patients' Rights during its mandate.

Why should the European Patients’ Rights Day be Institutionalized?

  1. Across Europe, the sustainability of healthcare systems is a common good to be safeguarded. We are worried about how to find this goal, without the involvement of citizens, patients and their associations, with the consequence that the protection of patients' rights could not be taken into consideration. Indeed, the economic crisis  has a direct impact on healthcare access, especially for the vulnerable population, which are exposed to social exclusion, increased private costs or giving up altogether medical care.
    Faced with this scenario, the institutionalization of the European Patients' Rights Day  could represent an effective message of the European Institutions’ commitment that any action towards a sustainable healthcare system should be done by putting patients’ rights at the forefront.
  2. EU Institutions and Member States are addressing the challenge of patient safety. We believe that the patient safety is also closely related to the patients’ awareness of their rights. The reinforcement of  patients’ rights will become effective only with the cooperation and commitment of all healthcare  stakeholders at the EU level and in every EU country. It is thus essential to increase awareness regarding  the importance of patients’ rights and everyone’s responsibilities in guaranteeing their respect. To contribute to this goal, the EU Parliament could welcome and recognize the value of the European Patients’  Rights Day, and so, to invite the EU Commission and Member States to support the citizens’ and patients’ organizations throughout Europe in celebrating, every year on the same date, the European Patients’ Rights Day at the local, national and EU level.
  3. Each European Day is a bearer of rich stories and experiences, with a message towards the future. The institutionalization of a European Patients’ Rights Day (not particularly related with a specific diseases, age, gender  etc.), unites and recognizes the daily activities of  thousands of organizations and hundreds of citizens, volunteers and professionals deeply involved  to improve the quality of patients’ life and the protection of their rights. The institutionalization of the European Patients’ Rights Day enforces this civic activism as an essential resource for the health systems in each country.
  4. The European Patients’ Rights Day has been celebrated for nine years, an initiative created by civic associations and already included in the European political agenda. So, the request to institutionalize the European Patients’ Rights Day, does not mean to create it, but rather to officially recognize it by the European Institution. In doing so, the European Institutions would show their support to civil societies’ initiative, a message which is relevant nowadays as there is a growing gap between the EU Institutions and the citizens.
  5. The European Patients’ Rights Day was established on 18 April 2007 at the European Parliament and is celebrated every year at the local, national and European level. The reason of its birth, is the need to highlight a number of patients’ rights that must be recognised and respected  in every place and nation all around Europe. These rights are drafted  in the European Charter of Patients' Rights, written in 2002 by civic and patient associations from 12 European countries. The European Charter of Patients' Rights states 14 patients' rights that together aim to guarantee a "high level of human health protection" (Article 35 of the Charter of fundamental rights of the European Union) and to assure the high quality of services provided by the various national health services in Europe. The 14 rights are an embodiment of fundamental rights and, as such, they must be recognized and respected in every country. They are correlated with duties and responsibilities that both citizens and healthcare stakeholders have to assume. The Charter applies to all individuals, recognizing the fact that differences, such as age, gender, religion, socio-economic status etc., may influence individual healthcare needs.
    For all the previous reasons, the institutionalization of the European Patients’ Rights Day has an implicit message linked to the commitment of the European Institutions in order to effectively apply the principles and rights established of the European Charter of Patients' Rights.
  6. Talking about the officially recognized European Days, if the previous European Parliament at the end of its mandate established the European Ice-cream Day (on 5 July 2012), the current European Parliament could be remembered for having established one year after its inauguration the European Patients' Rights Day. From our point of view, this is one more reason to embrace this initiative, of which the European branch of Cittadinanzattiva, Active Citizenship Network, is proud to have promoted since 2007 through the involvement of many associations and the management of events at the local, national and European level.

 

Programme 9th European Patients’ Rights Day

"The challenges of chronic diseases and patients’ rights in the framework of EU healthcare sustainability"
9th European Patients’ Rights Day

12 May 2015 
Room A1E2, European Parliament, Altiero Spinelli Palace (Place du Luxembourg), 1047 Brussels

The Event has been co-hosted by MEP David Borrelli Co-Chair of the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy Group and MEP Gianni Pittella, Chair of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats

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