The representatives of anti-poverty organisations from several EU Member states, meeting in UNIOPSS’ offices in Paris on 7 October 2000 passed the following resolutions addressed to the European and Member State authorities, looking ahead to the European Conference on access to health care being hosted by the French Presidency on 16 December 2000.
The organisations working against poverty and social exclusion in Europe demand:
1 – That the European Charter of Fundamental Rights and European and national laws affirm the right to health care for all, backed up by judicial review, and a right to social security for all residents, including non-nationals.
2 – That European guidelines, binding on the Member States, be set to improve access to health care.
3 – That a universal, public social protection scheme be established in each country.
4 – That each country have legally-ordained free access to good quality care for all residents living below the poverty line.
5 – That legislation in all Member States make access to quality care for everyone a national priority and lay down the conditions for achieving it in practice.
6- That the national plan of action against exclusion which every Member States is committed to draw up must include a health focus, with priorities set for target groups.
7 – That the member countries work to promote a single health care system for all, a single care access system, a single right to care.
8 – That everyone have a guaranteed right of access to all forms of care.
9 – That the right to access health care should not be linked to citizenship.
10 – That Member States’ policies take into account the inseparability of social inclusion, inequality and health.
11 – That Member States ask the NGOs to report at regular intervals on their findings on trends in health care access for the poor in their country, and provide the NGOs with the financial resources needed to draw up such reports. That document should be taken by Governments as a source of official information and debated by the European Parliament.
12- That NGO mediators provide support to target groups, funded by the public authorities.
13 – That States put the Ottawa Charter into practice by making individual and community involvement in policy-making and action on health a central plank of their policies.
14 – That training provision for health professionals be set up as a joint effort with the NGOs to understand poverty and the culture(s) of the poor.
15- That the EU and Member States fund an expansion of NGOs’ actions to prevent and tackle social exclusion and its resulting health exclusion.
16- That States focus on the vital task of making health care, especially hospitals, a caring system and ensure that the role of health professionals does not stop short at purely technical matters but includes a caring and support focus which is essential but increasingly lacking.
17 – That reducing health gaps should be a condition of membership of the Union, and that all the above requirements also be applied to the applicant countries.