Uniting Patients and Pharmacists: Takeaways from the Global Patients Congress 2023
Introduction to Global Patients Congress 2023
The Global Patients Congress 2023, organised by the International Alliance of Patients Organisations (IAPO), brought together patient experts, digital innovators, national governments, regulators and other high-level healthcare stakeholders. The theme was focused on learnings from the pandemic, the commitment to UHC and the role patients play in all aspects of healthcare from R&D to outcomes in care.
Emerging Collaborative Approaches in Healthcare
The covid-19 pandemic highlighted and helped us develop new ways of working. We were able to establish innovative collaborative relationships and prioritise patient and health professional safety and quality of health care. It is important to build on these developments and ensure multi-stakeholder partnerships remain part of the global health governance over the next decade. As a result of this the congress looked at seven different areas where partnership working is critical to further development of our healthcare systems.
Driving Innovation through Patient Engagement
In the first session it was highlighted how patients will drive future research and development of innovative medicines and health devices which will ensure our health systems become personalised, focusing on early diagnosis and predicting/preventing first.
Humanizing Healthcare: The Role of Patient Partnerships
In the second session patient partnerships with healthcare professionals were discussed as an important part in humanising healthcare. Humanising and compassionate healthcare approaches go beyond the focus of respect for the patient. It involves relational, organisational and structural changes to ensure we get the appropriate outcomes.
Personalized Healthcare and Early Disease Detection
In the third session the key issue discussed was how patient partnerships help in initiating personalised healthcare and how this can then help in early diagnosis and prevention of disease.
Promoting Global Patient Safety Standards
The fourth session looked at how we all can support the State and health systems in meeting the targets in the WHO Global Patient safety Action Plan and the Montreux Charter on Patient Safety.
Accelerating Regulatory Processes through Patient Involvement
The fifth session looked at how patients contribute and improve transparency and advance the regulatory process in delivering safe, high quality, vaccines and treatments as fast as possible.
Community Pharmacy’s Contribution to Universal Health Coverage
In the sixth session community pharmacy was the key focus and how we can support UHC. The discussion involved looking at how community pharmacy can reduce pressure on health services and support patients and consumers in making better health choices.
Advocating for Better Access to Innovative Medicines
The final session looked at how we can improve access to innovative medicines through patient engagement and advocacy.
Pharmacy Representation: Voices from the Field
The pharmacy profession was represented at the Congress by Catherine Duggan (CEO of FIP) and me, Raymond Anderson (Past President and Trustee of CPA) and we were invited to speak at two sessions presenting the role pharmacists can and do play in developing UHC. Catherine spoke on Day one of the Congress on how pharmacists are an essential member of the community and the first point of contact for accessing health advice and medicines. She spoke of how during the pandemic pharmacists proved their value to the local community as the 4th emergency service. She also focused on how FIP saw the role of pharmacy develop and help create a patient-centred, compassionate and humanised healthcare system for all.
Community Pharmacy and Self-Care
On Day two, I had the privilege of representing the profession (and the Commonwealth Pharmacists Association) on a panel which discussed the role of pharmacy and self-care. I was able to highlight where community pharmacy fits into the continuum of self-care, including our role in public health, advising on minor/common ailments, supporting patients with long-term conditions, vaccinations and the developing role of prescribing. I was able to provide evidence of the benefit community pharmacy provides in patient care and how using the skills of the pharmacist will help achieve UHC2030 faster with better patient experience and outcomes. I also highlighted some of the challenges pharmacy and community pharmacy in particular, face in reaching our full potential as healthcare providers globally.
Building Relationships for the Future of Healthcare
From the perspective of patients, pharmacy and pharmacists remain central to their healthcare and patients can be a strong advocate for the profession. It is important we continue to build our relationships with patient groups, nationally and globally to help accomplish the goals of UHC2030.
Raymond is a trustee, fellow, and patron of the CPA. He has served as President of this organization. While President he helped restructure the organisation into what it is today. He is a community pharmacist for over 40 years and has supported the development of the profession to become more patient-facing, using a pharmacist’s clinical skills for the benefit of patients. He is a strong advocate of good regulation and governance which is essential for the profession to reach its full potential across the commonwealth.
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