The National Patients' Organization (NPO) is the largest union of patient organizations in Bulgaria comprising more than 80 disease-specific member organizations, including healthy ageing management chronic conditions such as cardio-vascular diseases, diabetes, cancer etc. NPO is represented through its legally endorsed membership in all 28 regions in Bulgaria. The ideology and high ethical standards, ingrained in the values of the organization, triggered a rippling effect in the patients’ community. Since its inception in 2010, NPO has been annually granted the status of a nationally representative patients’ organization by the Ministry of Healthcare. This status allows for transparent discussions between NPO and governmental authorities on matters related to healthcare policy, reform and budgeting. In 2015, for a second time in the past 5 years, a representative of NPO sits on the Board of the National Health Insurance Fund and actively defends the interests of patients nation-wide.
Our vision for the future is a patient-centered healthcare system where the patients’ rights are developed and affirmed. We also envision equal access to high quality healthcare for all Bulgarian citizens.
We aim at affirmation of strong united patients’ movement on regional and national level with a visible participation on every level of the healthcare system. We nurture empowered patients' community that is seen as key factor by all stakeholders in public systems at the development of health policies. We strive for patients’ and stakeholders’ awareness about the rights and obligations of the patients.
NPO has a strong profile in advocacy and institutional collaboration as it leads the Secretariat of the permanent consultative body to the Council of Ministers in Bulgaria, called Partnership for Health. It includes representatives of nationally representative patient organizations, unions of medical professionals, hospitals, caregivers, industry and governmental institutions. The Partnership for Health aims to ensure transparency and effectiveness in the decision-making process. The deliverables of the Partnership for Health are being used in the process of monitoring and evaluation, and the implementation of strategic documents in the health system.
The organization also works extensively at international level as it is a member of the European Patients’ Forum (EPF). NPO together with EPF are the founding members of The Patient Access Partnership (PACT) which is a multi-stakeholder platform to facilitate the dialogue between the patients, EU member states policy makers and institutions, healthcare professionals and industry, and to develop innovative solutions to reduce inequities in access to healthcare. PACT enables different health stakeholders to join forces to develop, drive and propose to the European institutions and the Member States sustainable solutions to ensure equitable patient access to quality healthcare in the EU.
Since its establishment, the organization operates a national patient hotline, allowing patients from all over the country to receive advice and make complaints to medical consultants on issues related to access to healthcare, innovative treatment options etc. Thousands of people have already received support from our staff.
The conference devoted to the patient safety took place with the involvement of the National Patients’ Organization in Brussels. The patients have the fundamental right their medical care to be safe and yet improving, many challenges are still ahead of us.
Momchil Baev on behalf of NPO took part as a rapporteur in the working group on “Patient and family involvement in aftermath of incidents” within the conference, organized by the European Patients’ Forum (EPF). Among the main conclusions of the group was the great importance of behavior and attitude of the health practitioner and the healthcare facility towards the family of the victim in the hospital. Medical errors, adverse events or maltreatment were only part of the topics discussed in the conference.
Building capacity in patient safety has been identified as a priority by the European Patients’ Forum’s Secretariat to encourage and support members’ effective participation in EPF’s patient safety-related activities; particularly the 2016 EU-level conference “Patient and Family Empowerment for Better Patient Safety” that is coming up on November 8-9th and its follow-up activity in 2017.