Conference “Analysing how to reduce the access barriers to health care for people with chronic diseases in Europe. Challenges, good practices and policy options for people with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases”
Brussels, 16 October 2014
On 16 October 2014, EULAR organised the conference “Analysing how to reduce the access barriers to health care for people with chronic diseases”. The event was hosted by Member of the European Parliament Takis Hadjigeorgiou (Cyprus), being part of the conference held in the European Parliament. The main goal of the event was to discuss on main issues affecting access to health care as well as to develop policy recommendations to EU and national policy makers.
Access to quality health care is one of the main concerns of people with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs) and other chronic conditions. They often have to cope with a number of access barriers, such as the absence of science-based standards of care; the late referral to specialists (and often the insufficient number of specialised medical facilities and personnel); the long waiting lists; the high cost of therapies; or the lack of sufficient and adequate information for patients, to mention only few of them. The pressure of the financial crisis on health care systems is expected to make those barriers more evident, while deepening inequalities between better-off and worse-off groups of the population as well as between more affluent and less affluent EU Member States.
In order to discuss possible policy solutions and improvements to these issues, the event aimed to bring together representatives of the EU institutions, national and regional governments, patient organisations, health professional associations, scientific societies and other relevant stakeholders to discuss concrete recommendations on how reduce existing barriers to quality health care.
As a follow-up of this conference, EULAR is developing a position paper on access to health care for people with RMDs and other chronic conditions. This will include a number of policy recommendations and is expected to be ready in Spring 2015.