The Relevance of the European Charter of Patients’ Rights as a Tool for Advocacy in the Framework of the Covid-19 Pandemic
- 24 Feb 2021 |
- Volume: 2 |
- Issue: 1 |
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In 2002, Active Citizenship Network (ACN), together with 12 citizen organizations from 15 different EU countries, established the European Charter of Patients’ Rights, which lists fourteen fundamental patients’ rights which each EU country must protect and guarantee. The fourteen rights apply to all individuals and, together, aim to guarantee a “high level of human health protection”, as claimed in 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. During the Covid-19 pandemic, ACN has gathered all the many achievements, information, documents, activities, and publications, realized over the years thanks to the European Charter of Patients’ Rights, in a new section dedicated to the Charter that can be found on ACN’s official website. The new section is a way to enhance the relevance the Charter still has today and to support all the ones focused on implementing the principles stated in the Charter and on proclaiming it in the framework of the European Patients’ Rights Day (EPRD) at the local, national, and European levels. The article aims to demonstrate the relevance the European Charter of Patients’ Rights still has in 2020 as a tool for advocacy and an official instrument recognized by national and European institutions.
ACN: Active Citizenship Network; EPRD: European Patients’ Rights Day.
In 2002, Active Citizenship Network (ACN), together with 12 citizen organizations from 15 different EU countries, established the European Charter of Patients’ Rights , which lists fourteen fundamental patients’ rights that each EU country must protect guarantee. The fourteen rights apply to all individuals and, together, aim to guarantee a “high level of human health protection,” as,” aimed in 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. Being an embodiment of the EU fundamental rights, these rights must be recognized and respected in every country. They are correlated with duties and responsibilities that both citizens and health care stakeholders have to assume and are: right to preventive measures, right of access, right to information, right to consent, right to free choice, right to privacy and confidentiality, right to respect of patients’ time, right to the observance of quality standards, right to safety, right to innovation, right to avoid unnecessary suffering and pain, right to personalized treatment, right to complain, right to compensation.
Each of the EU countries’ national health systems manifests very different realities concerning patients’ rights. Some systems may have patients’ rights charters, specific laws, administrative regulations, charters of services, and many other provisions and procedures. On the other hand, other systems may have none of these. The European Charter of Patients’ Rights aims to reinforce the degree of protection of patients’ and patients’ rights in the different national and international contexts. Here, the Charter acts as empowerment, informative, evaluation, monitoring, and legal instrument.
As an empowerment and informative tool, the Charter informs and educates citizens. Health care workers collect forms of support for the Charter from many health stakeholders and professionals who underwrite specific commitments for its implementation, launch patients’ rights protection activities, and develop policies and programs to protect patients’ rights.
As an evaluation and participation tool, it is used as a common basis to evaluate and monitor healthcare services in Europe from the citizens’ point of view.
As a legal instrument, the Charter acts as the basis for laws on patients’ rights, and it can be formally recognized by the EU, national and local institutions.
During the years, going beyond the ACN constituency, a so-called “European Movement for Patients’ Rights” was born spontaneously. Especially in 2020, with the Covid-19 pandemic, the implementation of the European Charter of Patients’ Rights has proven more current than ever. In this still ongoing challenging health context, ACN has launched a social media awareness campaign to improve the European Charter of Patients’ Rights’ online visibility. But it has also gathered all the many achievements, information, documents, activities, and publications, realized over the years thanks to the European Charter of Patients’ Rights, in a new section dedicated to the Charter that can be found on ACN’s official website . The updating of the website has been possible thanks to a policy-focused healthcare charitable contribution by Upjohn, a Pfizer division. For instance, the new section highlights the main 14 events and articles that had discussed the Charter in the last years, providing links and useful information on when and where the events took place. Another part of the section provides us with other 14 examples of how and where the Charter’s principles have been published around Europe.
The European Charter of Patients’ Rights is a crucial point of reference for countless institutional and non-institutional subjects, both at the national and European levels. It has been and continues to be a milestone for the draft of many other Charters focused on protecting patients’ rights and the improvement of healthcare systems across Europe. ACN has been working on new methods to keep the Charter a relevant tool for advocacy even almost twenty years after its creation, such as the annual celebration of the European Patients’ Rights Day, officially recognized at the European level. In this Covid-19 pandemic, the Charter has to be implemented more than ever as a useful tool to reduce health inequalities, enhance the high quality of health care services, and a high level of human health protection.
European charter of patients’ rights; Active citizenship network; Advocacy; Patients’ rights; Health care
Votta M, Quaggia D, Cardillo M. The relevance of the european charter of patients’ rights as a tool for advocacy in the framework of the covid-19 pandemic. Clin Case Rep J. 2021;2(1):1–4.
© 2021 Mariano Votta. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY-4.0).
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