10th European Patients’ Rights Day (04 May 2016)

Reducing waste and inefficiency in the healthcare systems,
increasing quality of patient care

“Active Citizenship Network promotes this multi-stakeholder event since 2007, and as its Director, I am so honored to celebrate this relevant anniversary here at the EU Parliament”. With these remarks Mariano Votta, Director of Active Citizenship Network-Cittadinanzattiva opened the X European Patients’ Rights today in European Parliament, in Brussels, with leaders of civic and patient organizations coming from 25 Countries, some of them outside the European Union, such us Albania, Russia, Macedonia, Switzerland. With them, many representatives and leaders of 18 networks at EU level, professionals and experts, companies and providers, public relation agencies and other relevant stakeholders.

The event has been hosted  thanks to the Members of the European Parliament David Borrelli, Co-Chair of the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy Group, and to his colleague Piernicola Pedicini, ENVI Committee Coordinator for his group.
The 10th edition main topic was the fight against waste and inefficiency in the healthcare systems.  As clearly stated by European Commission Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs, “there is ample evidence of pervasive inefficiency in the process of transforming resources into health outcomes, generating economic waste and being a contributory factor for the excessive health expenditure growth”.
The World Health Organization estimated that from 20% to 40% of all the health spending is wasted through inefficiency.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimates that average life expectancy could increase by about 2 years in Europe, if resources were used more efficiently.
Consequently, reducing inefficiencies can lead to substantial gains.
Up to Active citizenship network, waste in the National Health Service is any activity, behavior, good and service that uses resources, without producing results in terms of health, wellness and quality of life as established by the European Charter of Patients' Rights.

There is another and more relevant reason that suggests us to address this topic:  we believe that citizens play an active role in the fight against inefficiencies. This is a must for my organization at all levels, included in our corporate vision, as underlined in the following statement:

"Cittadinanzattiva – Active Citizenship Network believes that citizens have the power, by organizing themselves, to overcome conditions of subordination and violation of their rights, to build a world where no human being is excluded and no common good is wasted", declared Antonio Gaudioso, general secretary of Cittadinanzattiva.
For us, waste is a cross-cutting issue, which refers to the way in which common goods are used and, more specifically, to their selfish and inappropriate use: this happens when economic, environmental, landscape or human resources are underused, abandoned, deprived of value and of their planning skills.Having a negative impact on those resources, waste - of whatever type - damage common goods and limit citizens’ rights, especially those of future generations.
In this sense, the joint efforts of all the social stakeholders (institutions, businesses, experts, media, civic organizations and individuals) are crucial to fight waste in an effective and permanent way.

There are many actions that citizens can undertake to fight waste, and fighting against waste in healthcare, both citizens and patients can play a key role by acting as sentinels to track and report corruption, irregularities and inefficiency; they can even contribute to the reduction of waste    by adopting responsible behaviors and effective lifestyles, respecting the rules of access to health services; adhering to therapeutic paths and consciously using drugs.
In general, being committed to the proper allocation of all resources, to  the promotion of real and non-formal transparency of public administration, to contrasting inefficiencies, corruption, to ensuring that “economic savings actually remain in health” from our point of view means protecting the right to health for everyone and protecting the National Health Service in each Member State as a common good.
Institutions at different level, citizens and patients through their organizations, professionals, public and private sector, must work together to achieve these goals. We believe that many actors are already doing their part to fight against waste and inefficiency. The main part of the conference will be dedicated to the presentation of these good practices that should be valued (the full report can be downloaded from the website www.activecitizenship.net). The report is based on 22 examples coming from 10 Countries. Most of them are related to the fighting of “inefficiently delivered services”.  Other to the “missed prevention opportunities” and to the “excessive administrative costs”.
Only three good practices reported about “unnecessary services”.
The  main actors of the gathered good practices are “health professionals”(14/22), followed by the “health care organizations” (12/22) and “Institutions” directly involved in the development of healthcare services. An important role is also played by the universities, patients’ organizations and patients.
The secret of their success often lies in the ability to collaborate with private and public sectors.

The 10th European Patients’ Rights Day was realized thanks to the support of: Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Novartis Oncology and Roche.

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