What’s on the top of your agenda?
Our biggest challenge, now that patients and their organisations are taken seriously, is to guarantee the active participation of patients with chronic diseases and to organise it in a way that respects our individual needs.
Why does your organisation exist?
In the past, the system was very fragmented. Many patients’ organisations were approaching policy-makers individually and they were not able to find a solution to every single problem. That is the reason why these patient groups came together to create this platform to provide a strong and united voice to Flemish patients.
What is your biggest achievement as an organisation?
After 15 years, policy-makers and other players in the healthcare field really start to listen to what the patient has to say about his or her health. The discussions no longer take place behind closed doors, now patients have an equal seat at the table.
Why did you decide to join EPF?
EPF and VPP share the same underlying vision and goals for the future. It will be very enlightening to exchange ideas and experiences with other national umbrella organisations of European patient organisations. We strongly believe we could all learn a lot from each other.
What is the biggest misconception about patients with chronic diseases in your country?
A common misconception about patients with chronic diseases is that they are no longer able to be active participants in society and their own health. In our experience, they want to work if possible, they want to maintain their social and family life and they are engaged in their patients’ organisation. Patients are no passive health care consumers, they are an active force that deserve acknowledgement.