04 May 2016
- Healthcare

Last April 20th we were invited to represent the patients’ perspective a European Health Parliament panel on prevention and self-care, together with MEP Cristian Busoi (Romania, EPP), former Irish Minister of Health Mary Harney, and Hubertus Cranz from the Association of the European Self-Medication Industry.

Prevention and self-care are at the heart of everything we do, as an organisation representing people with allergy, asthma and COPD. Although we keep on hearing that “prevention is better than cure”, patients are still to fully get the benefit of investing in prevention and self-care. Only in the case of COPD, a huge burden for patients and healthcare systems when diagnosed late, we could save a fortune! The costs of healthcare and lost productivity due to COPD are estimated as €48.4 billion annually.

Health prevention has not been the top priority for the European Union. In 2007-2013 only 1.5% of the EU budget was dedicated to improving health infrastructures or health programmes. In her presentation, Deputy Director and Senior EU Policy Advisor Roberta Savli commented how European Union funds could be added to address to health prevention, such as the European Semester or the structural funds.

For EFA, prevention and self-care are both a right and a duty for patients, but patients cannot do it alone. As patients’ organisations we have the responsibility to do more and do better to support patients and represent their interests. However, there are important barriers to the implementation of prevention and self-care policies that have to be addressed collectively, like the lack of support to health literacy and the persistence of health inequalities and poverty. Roberta Savli’s message was that the health in all policies strategy is not enough anymore in our societies. It is now time to speak of “prevention in all policies”.

She also addressed the doctor-patient relationship. Patients have the ownership of the decisions concerning their health thanks to a bilateral relationship. They should feel empowered to make the best decisions for them, something that can be achieved with guided self-care and management plans.

EFA’s vision is for all people with allergy, asthma and COPD in Europe to live uncompromised lives, have the right and access to best quality of care, participate in the decisions affecting their health and have a safe environment.

The European Health Parliament is a platform, funded by universities, companies and  politicians, running from December 2015 to June 2016 that brings together 55 young health professionals to address current and new challenges to European healthcare systems. 

To know more about our work on prevention please visit our Healthcare and Research sections.

Dear Visitor,

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Stay safe!
The EFA Team