On 9 February 2018, representatives of organisations working for the benefit of patients met in Warsaw for the 12th time. The occasion for the meeting was, organised annually by the Institute for Patient Rights and Health Education, a two-day conference with the participation of 140 leaders of patient organisations, as well as representatives of administration, officials, experts and the media.
The Forum of Patients' Organisations is a platform for the integration of the environment of organisations and associations working for the good of patients, which enables the leaders of individual organisations to draw attention to the biggest problems they face in their everyday activity and fight against illness.This year's meeting began with an inaugural meeting with the Deputy Minister of Health, Ms Jozefa Szczurek - Żelazko, who emphasised the role of organisations working for the good of patients in shaping the health attitudes of Poles and thanked the organisations' employees for their everyday work. This was followed by a speech by Mr Grzegorz Błażewicz, Deputy Ombudsman for Patients' Rights, who invited the organisations to cooperate on many levels and to engage in joint activities for the benefit of patients.The results of the report were also presented at the event "Patient Organisations in Poland. Structure. Activities. Needs", which was carried out by the Institute for Patient Rights and Health Education together with the Klon Jawor Foundation. This is the first such comprehensive study presenting the structure and condition of NGOs working in the field of health.
Then, during the two-day Forum, participants took part in over a dozen mentoring sessions and interactive workshops led by experts in various fields, including sexologist Professor Zbigniew Izdebski, journalist Jarosław Kuźniar, sociologist Dr Tomasz Sobierajski, or scientists such as Professor Małgorzata Kozłowska-Wojciechowska and Dr Anna Wójcicka. The patients met not coincidentally just now. This is because 11 February is World Day of the Sick, which is a special opportunity to express respect and appreciation to healthcare professionals, volunteers, family members, organisations and all those who selflessly devote themselves to the welfare of the sick.
The Patients' Organisations Forum is intended to foster the initiation of solutions that will improve systemic patient care. In past years, the conference was attended by the incumbent Ministers of Health with their deputies and the President of the National Health Fund. The experience of recent years shows that the dialogue held with decision-makers at these meetings has resulted in many of the demands of the patient community being met, particularly in terms of access to the most modern forms of treatment as well as legislative changes. One of the most important achievements expected by the patient organisation community was the adoption of the Act on Patient Rights and Patient Ombudsman, an idea that was initiated at one of our Forums.