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Equity of Access to Quality Healthcare as EU goal

4 July 2013

The Conference "Health Inequalities in the New EU Member States and Candidate Countries. Equity of Access to Quality Healthcare”,dedicated to the inequalities in healthcare systems in EU, took place on 26 July at the European Parliament in Brussels. Hosting the conference was Dr. Andrey Kovatchev, MEP from the European People's Party (GERB), which announced the creation of an informal group of MEPs from different political groups to work on solving the problem.

Access to quality healthcare is a citizens’ right ensured in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU and its implementation should be a priority for the European Union institutions and member states.

Severely limited access of citizens, especially in the new member states and candidate countries for the EU to quality treatment and prevention is a result of budgetary constraints related to low GDP, failed economic reforms, the current economic crisis and budget cuts imposed, in the words Dr. Andrey Kovachev.

Thanks to the sincere concern of policy-makers, public health authorities, health stakeholders such as patients’ and professionals’ organizations, as well as the industry, the conference achieved its main objectives. The conference concluded with the commitment of MEPs’, champions of patients’ rights, who pioneered the establishment of an informal interest group to foster robust reflection processes and decisive action in addressing the challenges of health inequalities and equal access to healthcare across Europe.

The conference is organized jointly with the Bulgarian National Patients Organization (NGO) and the European Patients' Forum (EPF). Among the key speakers were leading experts on healthcare and related problems as Natalie Chase from DG "Health and Consumers" of the European Commission (DG SANCO), President of the EPF Nicola Bedlington, Antonyia Parvanova MEP. Vice-President of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe and chairman of Bulgarian NGOs Dr. Stanimir Hasardzhiev. Attended by representatives of patient and medical organizations, public administrations of the Member States and the pharmaceutical industry.