Round Table Discussion with the European Patients Forum at the European Summit for Chronic Diseases

After arriving in the city of Brussels today for the European Summit on Chronic Diseases, my first port of call was to attend the round table discussion from the European Patients Forum. The topic for discussion was  'Long-term access to quality healthcare in Europe'. The speakers panel was made up from key people from across Europe including the UK, Bulgaria and Sweden. Which for me was very insightful, having heard about patient access to healthcare from a patients perspective- at the IDF Europe youth leadership camp from those countries.

Although the discussion was about long-term access for patients covering a broad range of diseases, what I started to notice as the discussion went on was that a lot of what was being discussed was applicable to diabetes as well.

The discussion was led by Andrew Ward and the other participants included Dr Stanimir Hasurdijiev Chairman of the Bulgarian National Patient’s Organisation, Nathalie Chaze Head of Healthcare Systems, DG Health and Consumers, Professor Bengt Jonsson and Jane Griffiths Company Group Chair-person. The discussion began with a brief introduction from each participant concerning their thoughts on the topic for debate, from the view point of their individual backgrounds. Nathalie identified that since organisations really began to focus on this key area of patient access to quality healthcare in 2006. Patient safety, the effectiveness of treatment and responsiveness to patient needs had to become targets in order to improve. She noted that patient life expectancies varied greatly between countries within Europe, as does the quality, availability and cost of care.

 Dr Hasurdjiev echoed Nathalie’s statements but went a step further to note that these key performance indicators needed to also be considered from the patients’ perspective. He mentioned that good doctors were needed, quick diagnosis’ with the right treatment being prescribed with follow up appointments and greater cure/ survival strategies. Delivering the industry perceptive from the point of view of the pharmaceutical industry; Jane Griffiths reminded us that we’re still in an economic crisis which has forced thoughts on the cost effective delivery of healthcare. Griffiths delivered a concerning statistic regarding the fact that it’s thought that 50% of patients aren’t taking their medicine effectively. Therefore a more holistic approach to the delivery medicine might be needed.

In support of this statement Professor Jonsson said that the best patient treatment is a combination of everything, not just medicine. Prevention, treatment, a healthy lifestyle, early detection and new therapies all needed to be considered cohesively. Bengt was actually talking about cancer when discussing his recommendations, however it did make me think that these would be good considerations for diabetes care and management too. The discussion closed on the agreement that patients, their needs, quality of life and life expectancy are central to long-term access to quality healthcare in Europe. Best practices need to be shared so that all EU members can move forward together and so that patients can receive the best care for them.


  1. Hey,If depends on the illness, some people suffer from one depressive episode, and then never again. For others the depressions becomes chronic. Bipolar disorder is a chronic one, though it can be treated with the right medications today. Some people suffer one psychotic episode, and then never again, but for others they beomes chronic and may be a part of their schizophrenia diagnosis. Some people have suffered their whole adult life from an eating disorder - but that doesn't qualify it as a chronic illness. There's also chronic insomnia.Thank you so much!!!
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My blog takes you through a daily look at sport, diabetes and everything in between. As an athlete that lives with type 1 diabetes I want to let you into news, views and all that is important to both of my passions.

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