Policy Briefing #3 – High quality access to care
This month’s policy briefing focuses on access, which is the second “key theme” of the 2017 engagement and empowerment plan. Access and support also feature amongst the five principles of the IAPO Declaration on Patient Centred Healthcare. Every patient must have access to the healthcare services they need, including “access to safe, quality and appropriate services, treatments, preventive care and health promotion activities”.
Access is also one of the key strategic targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030. In particular, Goal 3 emphasises the necessity of achieving access to “quality essential health-care services” and “access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all” as a key milestone in the long-term journey to universal health coverage (UHC).
The principle of access is in place when health services availability and approachability combines with the potential users’ effective ability to use those resources. Access, however, does not and should not apply only to health service delivery, especially if patient communities aim to be a leading force within healthcare systems. IAPO identifies four “areas of advocacy” around the principle of access:
- Access to medicines and treatments. This is the first and fundamental building block on which the principle of access draws.
- Access to technological innovation. . Healthcare systems are centred on patients when health technology is designed, improved and perfected with patients’ needs in mind.
- Access to information. Patient advocates must clearly convey that information is and must be one of the key domains against which the quality of access in healthcare is evaluated.
- Access to decision making. Patients must advocate for decision makers to create opportunities of cross-stakeholder engagement.
Read the policy briefing on access here